SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Francisco Oller Elementary School once bustled with kids, but now birds nest in classrooms strewn with leaves and glass from shattered fluorescent lights. Long-discarded homework assignments paper the ground. Graffiti covers the walls.Located in a city just outside San Juan, the school is among more than 150 shuttered in the last five years as a worsening economic crisis has prompted hundreds of thousands of people to move to the U.S. mainland over the past decade. In the meantime, the government is putting some of the closed schools up for sale on a real estate website. The listing for the Francisco Oller school says it would be a good location for commercial businesses, medical offices or even a new school.City officials say the asking price is $1.8 million.So far, there are no takers.___Danica Coto on Twitter: www.twitter.com/danicacotoCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Among the tens of thousands of people who left last year was 27-year-old Devis Gonzalez, who moved his family to Orlando, Florida, after finding a job as a truck driver.“The reason was plain and simple: work,” he said. “Like everyone else, we were looking for a better quality of life.”His young son attended a school in a rural area of Puerto Rico’s central mountain range that teachers say is among dozens expected to close permanently this summer, raising concerns that some children might have to travel a half-hour by bus to the nearest school.Nina Craig, a biologist from Ontario, Canada, who lives in the north coastal municipality of Arecibo and whose son attends school there, said the countryside is being stripped of services.“I think it’s inappropriate to be closing schools in the country just because they have a smaller population,” said Craig, who owns a farm in Arecibo, her husband’s hometown. “We can’t just all of us move to the city or all of us be commuting to the city.”The closures have also hit urban areas. The Francisco Oller school, named after a Puerto Rican impressionist painter, closed in 2010, reopened its doors for part of 2012 to receive children from another school that was being remodeled, then was abandoned for good. People in an adjacent working-class neighborhood complain that the empty school has been vandalized and is now being used as a shelter by drug addicts, a scene repeated around the island. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Many criticize the government’s handling of the closures, including Sen. Mari Tere Gonzalez, president of the Senate’s education commission.She said officials did not take transportation logistics and special education needs into account. The Boston Consulting Group noted that 30 percent of Puerto Rico students receive specialized education, twice the average in the U.S. mainland.“We have to condemn the way in which it was done,” Gonzalez said. “Our duty is to make sure that the rights of students aren’t being affected when it comes to services.”Education Secretary Rafael Roman did not respond to requests for an interview. He has said the exodus of nearly 45,000 Puerto Ricans a year and the island’s low birth rate will keep driving down enrollment. The island has seen its population dwindle to 3.5 million people, with nearly 411,000 students attending public schools. Roman’s department has not said which schools it will close next, angering parents and school officials who note that enrollment for the upcoming school year ended in March.“All of us parents are in limbo,” said Rafael Feliciano, a former teachers union president who now leads a group fighting the closures. “They are taking these measures behind our backs … It’s a disgrace.” 0 Comments Share Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Driven by a combination of budget cuts and declining enrollment, the loss of so many schools is having a profound impact on communities in the U.S. island territory, forcing many children to commute to new campuses and creating a blight in places already hard-hit by recession.The government says the situation could get much worse. It warned just days ago that by early 2016 it may run out of money to pay its bills, and over the next five years it may have to close nearly 600of the 1,460 public schools that once existed to save $249 million a year. Currently, there are 1,387 schools across the island.The trend “speaks volumes about how we’re losing population, about how we’re not being efficient in building the island’s future, about how we’re losing opportunities to create citizens,” said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. “I’m extremely concerned this will increase the hopelessness and mistrust that the island has in itself and lead people to think that the only option to succeed and support their families is to leave the island.”Puerto Rico has seen school enrollment drop 42 percent in the past three decades, and an additional 22 percent drop is expected over the next five years, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, which signed a multimillion-dollar deal with the government to help restructure the island’s education system. Much of the drop is the result of parents moving to the mainland U.S. in search of better opportunities, including many teachers being recruited from the island for their bilingual skills. Parents, stop beating yourself up Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Patients with chronic pain give advice This May 7, 2015 photo shows a hallway in closed Francisco Oller Elementary School in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The school located just outside the capital is among nearly 100 that have been shuttered as the island struggles through a worsening economic crisis that has prompted many to move to the U.S. mainland over the past decade. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
Source = Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island wins the Restaurant and Dining Award at the 2010 Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards, awarded on the 25th February 2011.This was the 14th annual AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards. The chief guest at this prestigious event was The Fijian Prime Minister along with 350 guests from all walks of the tourism sector. On the evening, 13 premium awards were presented in as many categories.Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island won the Restaurant & Dining award for CROSS restaurant in recognition of an establishment that delivers impeccable service, exceptional food and great atmosphere. CROSS restaurant is regarded as the premiere dining choice on Denarau by locals, resort guests and visiting dignitaries.Radisson Resort Fiji opened its doors in 2007 with 270 spacious guest Rooms and 1 bedroom suites providing a unique blend of accommodation options on Denarau Island. Over the last few years, Radisson Resort Fiji invested heavily in its Food and Beverage operations to cater to the changing needs of its customers as well as understanding the challenges of Food and Beverage quality, variety and value on Denarau. CROSS restaurant underwent a complete refurbishment in 2010 with upgraded air conditioned area, new entrance, furniture and an extensive hand selected wine cellar to boost. All this combined with attentive service and outstanding cuisine in an appealing beachfront location. The new look CROSS restaurant also includes a private dining area to cater to small groups. Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island now has a perfect combination of dining options with Neptune on the beach for casual meals, Water Court Asian restaurant overlooking Denarau’s only water fall feature, Blu restaurant with Churassco Fijian style cuisine and Lomani Wai which means “dining in the water” in Fijian.Acknowledging the high level of service delivery and broader success, Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island was nominated in two categories: Restaurant & Dining and Accommodation DeluxeGreg Maloney, General Manager of Radisson Resort Fiji said, “It is an honor and privilege to be recognized for this specific award. Over the years, the challenges in food and beverage have always been a point of contention for visitors to Fiji and we had to step up to the plate so to speak, to ensure we did all we could to change this. The menu we provide is varied and features local produce in a diverse culinary style. A specialty of the restaurant is Kava Ice-cream which is quiet unique. In addition, there is a wide selection of wines not readily found in other locations around Fiji enhancing the overall dining experience. This is also a strong acknowledgment for the team at CROSS who have worked hard to build and deliver an exceptional product”
BrochuresDiscover AustraliaSeaLink Explore Australia’s cities, famous Islands, landmarks and sights, beautiful beaches, rivers and wineries with SeaLink Travel Group’s ‘Discover Australia 2019/20 ‘brochure. The new 32-page brochure features SeaLink Travel Groups suite of brands and experiences across New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and for the first time Tasmania.According to Jeff Ellison, Chief Executive and Managing Director of SeaLink Travel Group, “our new ‘Discover Australia 2019/20 ‘brochure celebrates SeaLink’s 30th Birthday and links our Island destinations with our mainland experiences.“The brochure is filled with tours, packages, cruises and ferries plus many new experiences and destinations including Tasmania and the SeaLink Ferry Service to beautiful Bruny Island.” Some new offerings in much-loved destinations also feature in the brochure including Captain Cook Cruises indulgent six-course Gold Lunch cruises on Sydney Harbour and their first ever ‘premium-end’ charter and private Super Yacht, ‘AUSPRO’.
TORONTO – Toronto’s Mirvish Productions is adding standing-room tickets for the hit Canadian musical “Come From Away.”This is the second time the company has made such a move for the smash show, which runs for 100 minutes and sells out tickets well in advance.The last time was when “Come From Away” played in Toronto from December 2016 to January 2017.A Canadian production of the Tony Award-winning musical is running at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.Sixteen standing-room locations for all performances will be added at the ground-floor level beginning March 13, priced at $25 each.Mirvish says they will be available in-person only on a first-come, first-served basis at the theatre’s box office on each performance day.Customers are limited to two standing-room tickets each.Mirvish’s director of communications says in the almost 30 years he’s worked at Mirvish, the only time they’ve ever used standing-room locations has been for “Come From Away.”“Adding standing-room locations wasn’t an easy decision to make, because we would rather people sit in comfort to see the show and we would rather they bought tickets to actual seats in the future (thus naturally extending the run of the show for as long as possible),” John Karastamatis said Friday in a statement.“However, the demand is so large, that we have succumbed to it.” Mirvish adds standing-room tickets for Toronto’s ‘Come From Away’ by The Canadian Press Posted Mar 9, 2018 9:36 am PDT Last Updated Mar 9, 2018 at 10:20 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
18Jun Senate sends Rep. García’s SmartZone bill to Gov. Snyder’s desk Categories: Garcia News West Mich. lawmaker’s bill spurs job creation,expands local economic opportunitiesThe Senate today approved legislation sponsored by state Rep. Daniela García bringing interested communities one step closer to establishing satellite SmartZones.“Creating jobs and attracting talent are key benefits of having SmartZones across the state,” said Rep. García, R-Holland. “Pending the enactment of my legislation, communities throughout Michigan will be able to apply for SmartZone satellite status, creating more opportunities for collaboration, entrepreneurship, innovation and investment.”SmartZones and satellites are partly funded through a mechanism allowing them to capture for up to 15 years a portion of the increase in state and local education taxes. Tax captures help establish SmartZones and leverage private investments that often outweigh the cost of the region’s tax capture.Under current law, up to three satellites are permitted to capture taxes, and those opportunities have been filled. While satellites can become established without them, Rep. García’s House Bill 4226 permits tax captures for up to six new satellite SmartZones for a total of nine allowable.There are currently 15 SmartZones in the state, one of which is anchored by the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids.“For over a decade, the Grand Rapids SmartZone has helped support entrepreneurship and growth in West Michigan’s high-tech business sector,” said Rick Baker, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are thankful to Rep. Garcia for her leadership on this issue and to the legislature for passing this important bill. It will allow us to build upon our success in Grand Rapids and include our partners in Ottawa County. This is one more tool that helps support our shared goal of making West Michigan a top of mind region.”Rep. García said the MSU Bioeconomy Institute, in Holland Township, can serve in a similar capacity to create local jobs and encourage private investment.“We are excited, and relieved, that the Smart Zone legislation has passed the Michigan Senate,” said Jane Clark, president of the West Coast Chamber. “Our community has always had an innovative business culture, and now we will be able to attract, support, grow and sustain the best and brightest organizations, professionals and entrepreneurs. It is definitely a win for the MSU Bioeconomy Institute and greater Holland/Zeeland area.”HB 4226 awaits gubernatorial approval.
Categories: Bellino News 27Apr Bellino plan would modernize boater safety certification system Legislation creates new designation for driver’s license, state ID cardsState Rep. Joe Bellino today announced a plan that would allow boaters and jet-skiers to do away with the paper boating safety certification cards they are currently required to carry while on the water.The proposal establishes a designation that could be placed on the driver’s licenses and state identification cards of residents who hold a boating safety certification.“A paper license that disintegrates when it gets wet is clearly not the best option for boaters,” said Bellino, of Monroe. “It would be much more practical and convenient for boaters to indicate their eligibility with the ID card they carry around each and every day.”Bellino recently introduced the legislation alongside Reps. Steve Marino of Harrison Township and Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain. The plan laid out in House Bills 5836, 5879 and 5880 would also allow boaters to present electronic proof of their boater safety certificates when stopped by law enforcement.Under the proposal, officers would be able to take the boater’s electronic device to their vehicle or request the documentation be forwarded by email or text. Bellino said search and seizure protections are included to prevent officers from looking through phones if they are handed over for e-proof verification.The procedures are similar to those laid out in laws enacted in 2016 and 2017 allowing drivers to present electronic proofs of their vehicle insurance and registration.“We live in a society where most people are never more than an arm’s length away from their smart phone. If someone can show a digital copy of their boater education card it should serve the same purpose as a paper copy,” Bellino said. “An update is long overdue.”The legislation was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee for consideration.###
State Rep. Larry Inman of Traverse City said a plan approved this week by the House of Representatives would establish a system to further help Grand Traverse County schools improve building security.The cornerstone of the plan — approved with overwhelming bipartisan support — establishes a statewide commission to help review and audit security procedures in school buildings. Grants to improve security would be distributed with priority going to schools with the greatest need. Schools would have local liaisons to work with the statewide commission.The plan also would make the OK2SAY school safety program permanent, require reporting procedures for school incidents and threats, establish safety-related measures in new school construction and enhance training for law enforcement.“The tragic incidents of school violence we have seen across the nation are a call to action,” Inman said. “We must take steps to improve security in our schools, and this plan does just that. It puts the framework in place to help every school provide a safer environment for students, teachers and the entire community.”Inman had multiple discussions about school safety with Grand Traverse law enforcement, school and community officials as the House legislation took shape.“These conversations were extremely helpful, and I believe this legislation will support efforts already underway to increase school safety in Grand Traverse County,” Inman said.More details of the plan:–Schools would be required to submit incident reports to the statewide school safety commission. The reports would provide the commission with examples of how incidents and threats were handled to develop best practices for other Michigan schools to follow.–New school construction or major renovation projects would have to include safety features such as reinforced entryways and remote door locks.–The OK2SAY school safety program would become permanent by eliminating an expiration date currently in state law. The program allows the confidential reporting of tips on potentially harmful or criminal activity directed at students, school employees or school buildings.–Consistent, standardized training related to school violence incidents would be required for law enforcement throughout Michigan.House Bills 5828-30 and 5850-52 advance to the Senate for further consideration. 09May Rep. Inman: Michigan House plan will help make schools safer Categories: Inman News,News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesOctober 15, 2014;Charlotte News & ObserverIn North Carolina, some controversy swirling around a nonprofit that operates four charter schools raises some interesting questions about how close a for-profit and a nonprofit ought to get. It also raises questions about the level of oversight and accountability the government should exercise. NPQ has reported many times on the practice of nonprofit charter school operators contracting for-profit corporations to manage their schools. Although it is legal in many states, it has also been called into question, seen as a ruse to allow public dollars to flow into a for-profit company.Charter Day School, Inc. (CDS) in North Carolina seems to be one of the more extreme examples of this, with its relationship to the Roger Bacon Academy (RBA) outlined in a very detailed report on newsobserver.com. CDS now operates four charter schools in the state, several of which have done very well in standardized test results. However, throughout its history, the relationship between RBA and CDS has been close to the point of questionable.CDS was created as a nonprofit school in 2000, although it did not receive 501(c)3 status until 2002. The IRS apparently was not comfortable with the relationship CDS had to the for-profit organization that would operate the school—the Roger Bacon Academy, founded by Baker Mitchell. The issues cited by the IRS included:Mitchell and another RBA employee were named as serving on the CDS Board of Directors.The two organizations shared a bank account.CDS occupied office space on land owned by another of Mitchell’s corporations.After some minor changes to its operations, and although many of the issues the IRS had cited as “clear conflict of interest” were still relevant, CDS was granted nonprofit status and therefore was eligible to operate as a charter school in N.C. The question remains why the IRS was willing to turn a blind eye to the issues it found.In 2012, CDS applied to operate a new charter school, Douglass Academy. The application says that RBA would be contracted to manage the school. The person listed as submitting the application is Barbra Jones with a title of “Headmaster.” The address and telephone number listed there are those of RBA. When she signed the application, Jones does not list the title of headmaster but that of her role at RBA: Coordinator of Community Relations and New School Development. Although a minor point, this clearly points to the very vague firewalls that may or may not exist between the two organizations; they share staff to the point where the person in question is not clear which organization she is representing.The most recent IRS Form 990 available on GuideStar also shows the CDS annual income at slightly less than $11 million, which is about $400,000 more than the annual expenses that year. The organization’s assets/fund balance is listed at slightly more than $2 million. Payments made to RDA that year (2012) as listed under “Transaction with Interest Parties” total more than $4 million. These payments are for such items as “Management Fee,” “Back Office Support,” and rental for the school and for administrative offices. While serving as an officer of the nonprofit organization, a for-profit corporation Mitchell owned was offered contracts amounting to almost 40 percent of the nonprofit’s expenses. Despite questions about the level of his involvement in both RBA and CDS, Mitchell is still serving as Secretary of the CDS Board. Although this may not be illegal, it certainly calls into question how closely aligned these two organizations are, and if it is the right thing to do.In August of this year, Gov. McCrory of North Carolina signed into law a requirement that charter schools abide by the NC Open Meetings Law and Public Records Act. In his press release, he stated, “I have also asked Chairman Bill Cobey and members of our State Board of Education (SBE) to ensure that contracts with private entities also provide transparency on salaries and other personnel information.” A lawsuit filed by a local TV news station states that CDS has not complied, and that information about the relationship with RBA does not include the salaries of people who have been assigned to manage the charter schools. Mitchell is quoted as saying “there is no statutory basis” for the demand for transparency, despite it having been written into law by the Republican governor. The case is pending, but his comments demonstrate a cavalier attitude by Mitchell.The unhealthy coziness described here is not limited to Mitchell’s internal dealings at CDS and RBA. Mitchell’s CV, as posted on the RBA website, states that he was appointed to the North Carolina Public Charter School Advisory Council in 2011, He served on the council and its replacement until his resignation earlier this year. This council was responsible for reviewing and making recommendations about charter school applications. Doing the math, it was during Mitchell’s tenure on that council that CDS, on whose board he sits, submitted the application to operate Douglass Academy with RBA, which Mitchell owns, named to manage the school.The minutes of that council’s meeting, in which a subcommittee’s recommendations about Douglass Academy were reviewed, states that Mitchell abstained from voting. He is not listed as having recused himself or as having removed himself from the meeting room during the discussion. The subcommittee’s recommendation was that the application should be tabled because it was lacking in several areas, and that CDS should be called in for an interview. In fact, Mitchell abstained on the vote for many of the charter school applications at that meeting.In the subsequent meeting, when CDS was interviewed about Douglass Academy, the minutes suggest the council’s questions were addressed and a unanimous vote was taken to allow the school to operate as a charter school. It is unclear if Mitchell was present during the interview but recused himself from the vote.The list of concerns about Mitchell and his pattern of stepping into ethical grey areas goes on and on. As with the lawsuit filed by the TV news station, and an earlier demand that he step down from CDS’s Board, some are beginning to challenge his actions. (When questioned on the matter by ProPublica, Mitchell was dismissive: “It’s so silly. Undue influence, blah blah blah.”)Still, there does not appear to be a concerted effort to provide adequate levels of oversight and accountability, either from the board of CDS or from any regulatory bodies. So it appears that Mitchell has the right to do these things, but one must ask if they are, in fact, the right things to do.—Rob MeiksinsShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Russian service provider ER-Telecom has filed an application with the Federal Antimonopoly Service to acquire all or part of Akado, which is strong in the Moscow broadband and TV market, according to local reports.A decision is expected in about a month. According to the reports, ER-Telecom is aiming to acquire 100% control of Akado.The value of Akado has been estimated at between US$700-830 million (€535-635 million) including debt.ER-Telecom, Russia’s number two broadband provider, has about 2.45 million revenue-generating units compared with Akado’s 770,000, which are, however, concentrated in the lucrative Moscow market where Akado is the number three player.Akado posted revenues of RUB11.2 billion (€260 million) last year, with EBITDA of RUB4.22 billion.Akado, majority-owned by Viktor Vekselberg’s Renova Media, has attracted interest from a number of other parties including, most recently, state railways-owned TransTeleCom.
TeliaSonera-backed Estonian telco Elion is deepening its collaboration with mobile sister company EMT to offer a range of services including a mobile TV version of Elion’s NutiTV pay TV offering.The mobile TV service is currently under development. Elion and EMT are offering a range of other services aimed at residential and business customers including, from today, Hallo, providing the ability to initiate or answer landline phone calls from computers, tablets or smartphones.
US online TV service Hulu has named Craig Erwich as head of content. Erwich, who will take up his new post on April 7, previously oversaw development, production and business operations at Warner Bros Television Group, and has also worked at Fox Broadcasting. He has been involved in creating shows including Pretty Little Liars, The Voice, Prison Break, House and 24.“Craig is the perfect guy for the job – he has been developing shows and programming networks for over 20 years. He has impressed me and others who’ve met him with his collaborative approach, humility and tenacity to do what he believes,” said Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins in a blog posting.Hulu’s line-up of original content for this year includes Deadbeat, which will debut on April 9.
Banaxi, the central European on-demand service backed by OTT technology provider NetRange, has struck a strategic cooperation deal with telco Orange Slovakia to provide a subscription video-on-demand service to its customers.Orange customers in Slovakia who have signed up for the operator’s TV Extra, Sat TV Extra and Fiber TV services will be able to view on-demand content on Banaxi’s Filmoteka+ SVoD service.The monthly subscription package includes 50 films and series as well as individual films from Banaxi’s offering. Filmoteka+ will provide a range of popular catalogue movies as well as recent blockbusters including Interstellar and Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies.Banaxi provides VoD services under its own brand or as a white label service. The Banaxi Clubcard Kino service is available in partnership with Tesco in the Czech Republic.
Portuguese cable operator NOS has launched a next-generation hybrid IP video service, promising more personalisation, voice interaction and 4K content.Uma TV is designed to seamlessly integrate live, on-demand, OTT, catch-up and cloud DVR content and new Uma TV-branded apps will offer the same UI and content line-up across different screens.The new service will run via Arris’ ZD4500 set-top box, will be powered by Espial’s G4 STB Client and will mark the first European deployment of the RDK 2.1 environment.Speaking to DTVE ahead of yesterday’s launch, NOS’s head of development, Pedro Bandeira, said that the release will be backed by the biggest marketing campaign since the merger of the ZON and Optimus brands in 2014 to create NOS.Describing the operator’s 4K plans, Bandeira said that NOS will broadcast “almost 50% of the games” in the forthcoming Euro football championships in 4K on Sport TV – a major Portuguese sports channel that is 50% owned by NOS.For the rest of 2016, NOS will focus its 4K efforts on sports and music festivals – with the operator the main sponsor for the NOS Alive festival in Lisbon next month.“For 2017, as it gets cheaper also to invest in 4K, we also own a lot of movies and series channels, and we will eventually also invest to have 4K content on those channels,” he said.Espial’s new personalised UX for Uma TV aims to seamlessly combine advanced TV services with OTT content, while NOS will also deploy Nuance Dragon TV Voice Recognition and Nagra anyCAST Connect content protection in the box.The new Uma TV apps mark an evolution in NOS’s multiscreen strategy, as the firm’s full TV content offering will now be available on mobile devices. Previously NOS only offered a subset of its content across devices.“Now the user knows that everything that he can do in his home he can also do when he’s on vacation or away,” said Bandeira.The service will also include apps such as YouTube at launch, with other services, such as Netflix, likely to be added in due course.“We see ourselves as the window of content discovery and content usage for our customers. We just see the Netflix and the Hulus of this world as new-generation channels,” said Bandeira.
Denmark’s TDC Group has tapped Vlavi – formerly JDSU – to provide field-testing equipment for the upgrade of its network to support DOCSIS 3.1 services.Vlavi will provide its OneExpert ONX-620 CATV signal analysis meter as the core of the field test platform to support a nationwide upgrade of TDC’s HFC cable network, which provides services under the YouSee brand.TDC Group is upgrading its entire HFC network to support the new downstream extended frequency ranges defined in the DOCSIS 3.1 specification.The company has scheduled its upgrade for the remainder of this year and 2017, with a plan to limit the period during which subscribers’ services are disrupted to a minimum, according to Vlavi.The ONX-620 includes an embedded DOCSIS 3.1 modem for full 3.1 service testing up to 1 Gbps]DOCSIS 3.0 with 32×8 bonding capability and software upgradable to DOCSIS 3.1, according to Vlavi.
Piotr TyborowiczScripps Networks Interactive-owned Polish broadcaster, TVN, has appointed Piotr Tyborowicz as president of the board of its sales subsidiary, TVN Media.Tyborowicz, who heads TVN’s ad sales division, takes over from TVN CEO and managing director, Jim Samples, who will now head the firm’s supervisory board.At the same time TVN appointed Piotr Korycki as vice-president of TVN Media. Korycki joined TVN in 2003 as deputy finance director, later became the group’s financial director.“Piotr Tyborowicz has been with TVN Group since the beginning, he heads the TVN’s ad sales business and knows the company inside out. This makes him the perfect fit for the role of President of TVN Media,” said Samples.“Piotr Korycki, an experienced financial professional, will become the Vice-President. They are both excellent managers with comprehensive professional track records. I am delighted with the nominations.”
Karen BradleyChannel 4 has said moving out of London would be “highly damaging”, after Culture Secretary Karen Bradley revealed the UK government is looking into the possibility of relocating the public broadcaster.Speaking at the Nations and Regions Media Conference in Salford, Manchester this morning, Bradley said that Channel 4 would not be privatised, but that a government consultation would look at whether Channel 4 should move its headquarters and move its staff outside the capital.“The most important factor in supporting the nations and regions is where we spend our money rather than where Channel 4 is headquartered,” said a Channel 4 spokesperson in response to the comments.“A substantial relocation would be highly damaging to Channel 4’s business model and diminish our investment in the creative industries around the UK and our overall contribution to the UK economy.”However, Bradley said: “We want the benefits of this national asset to be spread far and wide, not just in London. That means rethinking where it is based, and where it spends money.“I am unsympathetic towards those who recoil in horror at the very idea of media jobs being based outside the capital. Or for those who insist that people with ideas in the West Midlands, West Country or West Wales must travel to Westminster to get their programmes made.”The news comes after a report into the future of Channel 4 last July concluded the risks associated with a mooted privatisation of the public broadcaster outweigh the potential benefits.The House of Lords select committee on communications said that the broadcaster is sustainable in its current ad-supported form. It added that privatisation risks include seeing its public service remit diminished to maximise profit, regional commissioning and diversity threatened, and news, current affairs and film output particularly at risk.Earlier this month Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham announced he will leave the broadcaster later this year to launch a new media business in 2018.
All Media Baltics, the Providence Equity Partners-backed outfit that took control of Modern Times Group’s assets in the Baltic states last year, has rebranded the Viasat Sport Baltic premium sports channel as TVPlay Sports.The company has said that it will continue the strategy of Viasat Sport Baltic to be the market leader for premium sports in the Baltic states. The rebranded offering will air over 3,200 live hours of sports during the upcoming season, covering events including the UEFA European Super Cup, to be played between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid in Tallinn in Estonia on August 15, the FIBA World Cup and World Rally Championship.Toms Circenis, TVPlay Sports programming director, said that the premium channel would come with a new brand and appearance, and that a second version would be made available with Russian-language commentary for Russian speakers.MTG completed the sale of its broadcasting business in the Baltic region to Providence Equity Partners for €100 million in October. In addition to the pay TV service, the new group controls a number of free-to-air channels in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Virgin Media is launching what it claims is the UK’s first dedicated 4K ultra high definition (UHD) entertainment channel.Virgin TV Ultra HD is due to start broadcasting on September 17 and will air: drama series like Start Up, Masters of Sex and House of Cards; wildlife and nature documentaries such as Love Nature’s The Big Dry; and concert footage from acts like the Rolling Stones and Sting.Virgin said that the new channel continues its continued investment in 4K UHD programming, following the launch of BT Sport 4K UHD on Virgin TV in August.The operator has also aired a selection of sports events in 4K Ultra HD, including the 2018 French Open and a selection of this year’s World Cup football matches.“With the launch of Virgin TV Ultra HD we’re giving our customers the ultimate entertainment viewing experience with must-see shows in incredible, crystal-clear picture quality,” said David Bouchier, Virgin Media’s chief digital entertainment officer.“From epic dramas and stunning documentaries to the front row feeling of a rock concert, our customers will get closer to the action than ever before – with four times the picture quality of HD. It really is the next best thing to being there.“We’ve shown some of this year’s biggest sporting events in Ultra HD, such as the Champions League and Wimbledon finals and we’re now giving entertainment the Ultra HD treatment. It’s all part of our ongoing investment to give our customers the best way to watch the best TV.”Virgin TV Ultra HD will be available at no extra cost to Virgin TV Full House and VIP customers with a V6 set-top box. It will broadcast on channel number 999 from prime-time in the evening until late each night and will kick off at 8.20pm on its launch day.
Vodafone Deutschland’s chief technology officer (CTO), Eric Kuisch, has announced plans to leave the company, three years after taking his post.Eric KuischKuish joined Vodafone from Dutch operator KPN in October 2013 and is due to exit in the first half of 2019, with Vodafone to decide his replacement “in due course”.The news came as Vodafone Deutschland announced that chief finance officer Andreas Siemen will leave at the end of October 2018 to take a new role outside the company.Siemen’s replacement – as CFO of Vodafone Germany as well as CFO of Vodafone Kabel Deutschland – will be the former strategy manager Anna Dimitrova. She starts on November 1, 2018.“I would like to thank Eric Kuisch and Andreas Siemen for their great commitment and their valuable contribution to the success of the Gigabit Company. We have always benefited from their expertise,” said Vodafone Deutschland CEO Hannes Ametsreiter in a statement.
Dutch Vodafone-Liberty Global joint venture VodafoneZiggo is to move forwards with plans to complete digital switchover in its cable footprint by switching off analogue TV signals in The Hague on the night of March 11-12.VodafoneZiggo began the process of transitioning its networks to digital-only services in March last year, and has completed the process in the Capelle aan den IJssel regions, Flevoland, Rotterdam and surroundings, and Amsterdam and surroundings.In addition to The Hague itself, the current phase of the project covers the surrounding municipalities of Zoetermeer, Delft, Rijswijk ZH, Voorburg, Leidschendam, Wassenaar and Nootdorp.The migration to digital means that VodafoneZiggo cable customers will receive extra channels, including all regional channels and Ziggo Sport, the group’s premium sports offering. Subscription costs will remain the same as for the analogue service.VodafoneZiggo said that the vast majority of its customers in the affected regions had already made the switch from analogue to digital.