<< Previous PostNext Post >> ONBOARD OCEANIA MARINA — Reporting from the lovely environs of Oceania Marina is pure pleasure. Whether your clients are seasoned cruisers or first-timers to the cruising world, and whether they gravitate to super luxury or easy comfort, you can confidently assure them that Oceania presents a lifestyle at sea that is so inviting, so gracious at every level, that being a passenger aboard an Oceania vessel feels much like being a valued member of a private, upscale country club where – one might say – membership reaps rewards.Oceania cruising is a lifestyle. The cruise line has cleverly branded the lifestyle OLife and, along with it, made the Oceania culinary experience an integral and signature hallmark of that brand.Simply put, here’s what this means for your clients: No matter their level of accommodation – from oceanview to Owner’s Suite – they can expect gourmet fare throughout all Oceania ships, plus the privilege of dining in any specialty restaurant without paying a premium dining fee, though reservations are required.More news: Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTThree days into my ‘Tropical Tempos’ itinerary aboard the Marina, as an unabashed lover of fine food I am astonished by the superb quality and presentation of meals, and the fact that almost all dishes are prepared à la minute, and occasionally, tableside. (More about the Italian, French and pan-Asian restaurants in an upcoming article in Travelweek.)Having already honed a diverse roster of tours in international ports of call, and having already established the first hands-on cooking school at sea, Oceania has enhanced the touring possibilities by researching and creating culinary discovery experiences that allow passengers to have authentic, intimate experiences with locals of the destination.For example, when the Marina calls at Roatan this morning, I’ll be joining a farm-to-table tour with a local farmer, learning how hydroponic technology has increased produce for the area, helping to gather lettuces and greens, and participating in a cooking program at a local restaurant.So far this Marina cruise has been an all-around delectable experience. I look forward to sharing tasty Oceania details, as well as tidbits of the OLife experience, in my upcoming article for Travelweek. Toby Saltzman Posted by Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Share Tags: Oceania Cruises Oceania Cruises’ OLife makes for an all-around delectable experience at sea
No related posts. CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, despite an intensifying battle with cancer, has tightened his grip on the country’s political machine with his party crushing the opposition and winning most governorships in state races on Sunday.Chávez’s top rival, Henrique Capriles, survived his own tough test, winning re-election as Miranda state governor. But Chávez’s party gained in four other states, said electoral officials in this OPEC nation with the world’s top oil reserves.Capriles admitted the losses were a “tough moment” for Venezuela’s opposition.“Our [opposition candidates] have lost some ground. But they are no less leaders than they were yesterday,” he said.In the country’s 23 states, the socialist ruling party won 20 of the top state posts while the opposition held onto three, including Miranda, the electoral council said. The opposition had held seven state governorships before the vote.Turnout was just under 54 percent nationwide, the top electoral body said. That is fairly low, according to analyst Luis Vicente León, who said the timing very close to Christmas likely had an impact, especially for the opposition, whose voters tend to be from the middle and upper classes.The elections were overshadowed by the health of Chávez, who was improving and already “giving instructions” from his bed in Havana where he is recovering from cancer surgery, a Venezuelan Cabinet member said earlier.Chávez, 58, is due to be sworn in for a third presidential term on Jan. 10, but the country is now on tenterhooks to see if the outspoken, formerly tireless leader will remain their president, become incapacitated, or worse.He has named Foreign Minister and Vice President Nicolás Maduro as both his temporary replacement and hand-picked successor.Maduro on Sunday declared the vote “a resounding defeat” for the opposition, in a telephone interview on state television. Facebook Comments
MessageBird, the Amsterdam-based cloud communications platform company, today announced that it is expanding its European operations with a new office in Dublin. Led by former Salesforce and Oracle executive, Roberto Marzo, the new office will employ up to 50 new positions over the next 2 years. Initial hires will focus on sales, customer success and support for MessageBird’s fast-growing European customer base. The Dublin office is MessageBird’s 4th office in Europe and its 8th outpost worldwide.“Businesses across Europe are looking to access cloud communications technology to create brand-building customer experiences for their customers. As our enterprise customer base across Europe has more than doubled in the last 18 months, we’re excited to add additional resources in Dublin to meet this growing demand,” said Roberto Marzo, Vice President of Sales Strategy and Business Operations for MessageBird. “Dublin’s thriving tech startup scene, and its highly skilled labour pool, make it an ideal location for MessageBird to further spread its wings in Europe.”Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD said, “I am delighted to welcome MessageBird, one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies, as it opens its new office in Dublin, which will employ 50 people over the next two years. This is a reflection of our attractiveness for companies in the ICT sector. We have the skills and talent pool available to enable the company to grow and to embed their operations in Ireland. I wish them well for the future.”Mary Buckley, IDA Ireland’s Executive Director said “International companies continue to be attracted to Ireland due to the ease of access to a talented workforce. Dublin is an internationally recognised technology hub where companies, including those like MessageBird, which are scaling their global operations at a rapid pace, can set up quickly and efficiently as they serve their expanding customer base internationally.”MessageBird has built a global cloud communications platformSince its launch in 2011, MessageBird has built a global cloud communications platform that makes it possible for consumers to communicate with businesses in the same way they do with their friends and family – on their preferred channels, on their preferred timelines and with all the context of previous conversations. With easy-to-implement MessageBird technology, businesses are creating experiences that delight customers and keep them coming back, time and time again.More than 15,000 customers have taken advantage of the MessageBird platform including globally recognized brands such as Lufthansa Airlines, Hugo Boss, Rituals Cosmetics, Google and SAP to fast-growing startups such as Hello Fresh, SuitSupply and Uber.MessageBird currently has nearly 250 employees supporting customers around the world from offices in Amsterdam, San Francisco, London, Hamburg, Sydney, Shanghai, and Singapore.To learn about positions available in the new Dublin office, visit https://www.messagebird.com/careers/.
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Imagine if someone removed the speedometer from your car and then put limits on how fast or slow you could drive. That’s what 11 Republican House members are doing with legislation which would prohibit the Census Bureau from any data collection except for the decennial headcount of Americans.[IMAGE]The impact of the bill, “”HR 1638″”:http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/1638/text, would be to eviscerate and effectively eliminate the monthly employment situation report that produces, among other things, the unemployment rate as well as a host of other bits of data about the economy. The sponsors of the bill must believe that if we don’t count unemployment it won’t exist.Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-South Carolina) along with Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Andy Harris (R-Maryland), Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-North Carolina), Raul R. Labrador (R-Idaho), Thomas Massie (R-KentuckyY), Stevan Pearce (R-New Mexico), Bill Posey (R-Florida), Reid J. Ribble (R-Wisconsin), Steve Southerland II (R-Florida) and Steve Stockman (R-Texas) introduced the “”Census Reform Act of 2013,”” a bill Duncan was so proud of that it initially wasn’t on his “”website’s””:http://jeffduncan.house.gov/ list of bills for which he is the primary sponsor.The legislation comes at a time when the Census Bureau is particularly vulnerable: Not only has the president proposed reducing funding, but Congress–through Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget–would cut it 13 percent further. And the bureau doesn’t have a director to complain. There is also no secretary or deputy secretary at the Commerce Department, which oversees the bureau and would generally press its case to Congress.The Census Bureau conducts the “”Current Population Survey,”” also known as the “”household survey,”” one of two surveys which make up the highly anticipated Employment Situation report issued on the first Friday of each month. (The other survey is the “”establishment survey,”” officially called “”Current Employment Statistics,”” which measures payroll jobs.)The household survey collects data from 60,000 households to determine the employment status of the over-16 population. The survey results allow the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine unemployment rates by, among other things, age, race, gender, education status, and veteran status. The results are extrapolated to all 110 million households to produce the unemployment rate as well as a host of other data.Duncan argued privacy in defending the legislation.””These surveys amount to legalized government harassment,”” he said in a statement issued by his office. “”Right now the Census Bureau can ask citizens very invasive questions, and if they don’t respond, the government shows up at their door and threatens them with a fine. Americans are fed up with these mandatory census surveys and they’re asking us to stop the harassment.””He said also there are other ways to gather the information necessary to produce not only the employment data but other reports, such as gross domestic product, retail sales, new home sales, residential construction, and housing permits and starts, to name just a few.””As a former small business owner, I recognize that some economic data gathering is beneficial,”” Duncan said. “”However, it should be voluntary, industry driven, and not mandated by the government under penalty of law. I’m confident in our ability to develop innovative ways to [COLUMN_BREAK]gather information without harassing people, invading their privacy, or threatening them with fines. Americans are tired of too much government meddling in their daily lives.””A few months ago, when the unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped below 8.0 percent in a critically timed report just before Election Day–even as job creation was weak–conspiracy theorists immediately swarmed cable TV to declare the numbers had been manipulated. Without any survey data to support the report, the administration could have chosen any number, just as it could use any figures for any of the other of dozens of economic reports issued each month–reports on which businesses rely for critical decisions.Oh, and it’s not just businesses. Census reports are not only broken down by state, county, and city, but by congressional district, giving Rep. Duncan information about the people he represents through the American Community Survey conducted by–guess who?–the Census Bureau.Try guessing how fast you’re driving.————————————————A brief note:Mainstream media missed two very important economic data elements in the last week that could have significant long term implications.On Monday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) issued its monthly report on “”personal income and consumption””:https://themreport.com/articles/slow-wage-growth-holds-down-march-personal-income-2013-04-29, showing a 0.2 percent month-over-month increase in spending, twice what economists had expected. Sounded like good news, right? Consumers can buy goods or services. Buying goods means retailers have to order the goods from a manufacturer, the goods have to be transported , shelves stocked, etc.–in other words, creating an infrastructure. Services don’t require the same support. In March, according to BEA, spending on goods actually dropped; the entire increase in consumption was attributable to an increase in spending on services.Tuesday, lost behind the headlines of a continued increase in home prices reported in the “”Case-Shiller Home Price Index””:https://themreport.com/articles/case-shiller-indices-post-strongest-gain-since-2006-2013-04-30, the Census Bureau reported the nation’s “”homeownership rate””:https://themreport.com/articles/homeownership-rate-drops-to-8-year-low-2013-04-30 dropped to its lowest level in 18 years, and the number of households owning homes fell for the first time in two years. To the extent the trend continues, builders, realtors, lenders, and servicers could all be affected. We don’t yet know the reasons for the declines, but other data points to a shift to multifamily and away from single-family housing. We could be seeing an “”echo effect”” of the foreclosure crisis as children of those affected by foreclosures themselves become reluctant to buy. On the other hand, those potential buyers could be saving for a larger down payment.———————————————–Not much on the economic calendar for the week of May 6.The Federal Reserve will report Tuesday on consumer credit outstanding (non-real estate credit) for March, which will provide insight on whether the elimination of the payroll tax holiday sent consumers scurrying back to credit cards. The continued uptick in auto sales suggests term loans–financing car purchases–could increase.The Bureau of Labor Statistics issues on Tuesday its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report for March–the ins and outs of what had been a very disappointing employment report. What’s been lost in the focus on the unemployment report is the increase in hiring: 51.98 million in the 12 months through February of this year, up from 50.33 million in the previous 12 months and 48.9 million in the 12 months before that._Hear Mark Lieberman each Friday on P.O.T.U.S. (SiriusXM 124) at 6:20 a.m. Eastern._*_Want to write an opinion piece for publication on our site? Send your submission to_* “”MReportEditor@TheMReport.com.””:mailto:MReportEditor@TheMReport.com Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-05-03 Mark Lieberman Commentary: Driving With No Speedometer Share May 3, 2013 435 Views
November 13, 1998The signal to roll!
The sum of €250,000 is available for the restoration of areas affected by forest fires, the agriculture ministry, the Cyprus agricultural payments organisation (Capo) and the forest department announced on Tuesday.Interested parties can apply for the money from March 5 to May 11 at 2pm under what’s called Scheme 8.4, which is part of the EU plan for rural development 2014-2020. Scheme 8 calls for the investment in development of forest areas and improving the sustainability, and Scheme 8.4 requires the relevant European ministries to “repair damage to forests due to forest fires, natural disasters and catastrophic events.”“The main purpose of the scheme is to restore damage to forests and wooded areas due to forest fires and to resettle forest vegetation through reforestation work in the burnt areas,” the announcement said, adding that the first call for proposals was worth €250,000.According to the rules, the money is available for public and private forest owners including individuals, the church, monasteries and other religious bodies.Interested parties can obtain the application manual for the scheme as well as the application form from the website of the rural development programme 2014-2020 www.paa.gov.cy, the forestry department www.moa.gov.cy/fd and Capo www.capo.gov.cy.For questions about applications the public can contact the following forest offices: Nicosia 22-403738, Larnaca 24-304655, Limassol 25-872305, Paphos 26-804607.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Michigan State Police Sgt. Dewayne Gill answers a question during committee testimony for House Bills 5383-85. Also testifying, from left, are state Rep. Dan Lauwers, St. Clair County Deputy Sheriff Dave Ferguson, and Kenneth Stecker of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.Legislation to protect Michigan motorists from repeat drugged drivers will not include the use of a roadside saliva test for controlled substances under legislation amended this morning by the House Judiciary Committee.House Bills 5383-85, introduced by Rep. Dan Lauwers, help keep dangerous motorists off Michigan streets by ensuring immediate jail time for repeat offenders and better communication between law enforcement agencies.“The purpose and intent of these bills has always been to improve communication between law enforcement agencies and protect motorists from repeat drugged drivers,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “We listened to the concerns about the saliva test, and made the bills even stronger and more effective. The ultimate goal of these measures has not changed. We want to make our roads safer for Michigan motorists.”Under the legislation, the state Legislature must now separately authorize a pilot program conducted by the State Police before a roadside saliva test could be used in Michigan. The pilot program would have to be tested for at least three years in five counties.The legislation also places a conditional bond on drivers who are arrested for operating under the influence of drugs, puts the bond into the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN), and requires drugged motorists to be given a permit license similar to a drunken driving offense.“Police officers would be able to easily identify repeat drugged drivers with this paper permit, much in the same way repeat drunken drivers are identified,” Lauwers said. “It’s a common-sense way to make sure repeat drugged drivers are no longer able to harm other motorists or themselves.”St. Clair County Deputy Sheriff Dave Ferguson, who is specifically trained to evaluate and detect drugged drivers, testified before the committee along with Michigan State Police Sgt. Dewayne Gill and Kenneth Stecker of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.The bills remain under consideration in the House Judiciary Committee. 08May Rep. Lauwers: Roadside saliva test eliminated from drugged driving bills Categories: Lauwers News,Lauwers Photos
08Dec Rep. Price honors first woman, Native American in state House Categories: News LANSING – State Rep. Amanda Price honored the life of Cora Belle Reynolds Anderson, the first woman and Native American to serve in the state House of Representatives, during a portrait dedication ceremony today.Rep. Price, R-Park Township, highlighted Anderson’s education and professional background beyond her tenure in the state House in 1925-1926.“She was clearly a unique and special individual, so she deserves recognition,” said Rep. Price. “Besides being the first woman and Native American to serve in the state House, Cora Belle also continued to teach when she was married. We may not think that was unusual today, but it was at that time.”A L’Anse native, Anderson was elected by the “Iron District” of Baraga, Iron, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties in 1924. During her tenure in Lansing, she continued a lifelong focus on education, agriculture and public health.Today’s event included speeches from House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, and Capitol Historian Valerie Marvin with Gary Randall, Clerk of the House of Representatives, serving as master of ceremonies. The new portrait will reside in the House Office Building, which was dedicated in Anderson’s name in 2000.
28Mar Rep. Leutheuser supports educational choice in high school Categories: Leutheuser News,News State Rep. Eric Leutheuser, of Hillsdale, today voted in support of merit curriculum legislation that will give high school students more flexibility in their education choices and help better connect with 21st century jobs.“As we consider how to best prepare our young people for life after graduation, we need to provide more flexibility for students, teachers and administrators,” Leutheuser said. “This legislation will give a boost to professions and career fields we know are in great demand today across southern Michigan.”The four bills in the package will:Allow students to fulfill a 21st Century Skills requirement by completing a combination of career/technical education (CTE) or visual/performing arts courses.Allow for one of two required foreign language credits to be achieved through a CTE course, computer coding or certain visual/performing arts courses. This is current law, but legislation would remove the 2021 expiration date.Allow the completion of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration general industry or construction training program within a CTE program to fulfill a health education requirement.Allow for statistics to be an alternative to Algebra II within current Michigan merit standards that require at least four mathematic credits to graduate.House Bills 4315-4318 advance to the full House for its consideration.#####
Categories: Afendoulis News,Albert News 10Apr Reps. Albert and Afendoulis to host senior seminar State Reps. Thomas Albert and Chris Afendoulis will host a seminar for senior citizens in Kent County. The senior seminar will focus on consumer protection and information to defend against identity theft. Reps. Albert and Afendoulis will be joined by Harry Werkema from the attorney general’s office.“It is important to keep the community informed on how to defend themselves against the emotional and financial hardships following identity theft, unfortunately targeting senior citizens,” Albert said.Afendoulis said “Having the ability to detect a scam and prevent identity theft is crucial. I encourage all seniors in Kent County to attend our seminar.”The event will be from 10 a.m. to noon at the Cascade Township KDL Branch, 2870 Jacksmith Ave. SE in Grand Rapids on April 16. RSVPs are not required and there is no cost to attend. Coffee and donuts will be provided. For more information, please contact Rep. Albert’s office at 517-373-0846 or ThomasAlbert@house.mi.gov.
House approves historic reforms after decades of gridlockState Rep. Hank Vaupel, along with the Michigan House, today approved a landmark plan to fix our state’s broken car insurance system and reduce rates for all Michigan drivers.Vaupel voted in favor of the plan to offer drivers personal injury coverage options, rein in medical costs and fight fraud – features designed to end Michigan’s long-standing tenure as the state with the costliest car insurance rates in the nation.“It’s no secret our car insurance rates are among the highest in the Midwest,” Vaupel said. “It’s not fair for Michigan drivers – and I’m fed up with it myself. This plan is the right solution to make car insurance more affordable for everyone in Michigan and I’m proud to support it today.”Michigan’s costs are high largely because it’s the only state mandating unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance. The plan allows those currently using the coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it – while providing more affordable options.The plan:Guarantees lower personal injury protection rates for all Michigan drivers;Gives drivers a choice on car insurance policies;Stops price gouging on medical services for car accident victims;Combats fraudulent claims to help lower costs.The sweeping legislation now advances to the Senate for consideration.##### Categories: Vaupel News 09May Rep. Vaupel supports plan to overhaul Michigan’s car insurance system, reduce rates for all
Share25Tweet8ShareEmail33 Shares“Transparency,” Vince AlongiMarch 21, 2018; The ConversationA foundational principle of American democracy is the importance of government transparency. Transparency serves various functions by demonstrating that the public’s will is being implemented and confirming that taxpayer resources are being used responsibly. Furthermore, transparency acts as a mechanism for ensuring accountability, both of individual elected representatives and public institutions themselves, by building positive feedback loops to increase public trust and thereby improve the operation of government itself. Given the proliferation of technology and the ease of accessing information, it has never been easier for public entities to be transparent, as is evidenced by the movement for open government, which includes cities and governments throughout the globe, and aims to make public information more accessible.The public funds several institutions within the government that conduct in depth research on a wide range of topics: from employment and market trends to issues such as economic development using local food systems to public health issues such as the opioid epidemic. Some of this information is detailed in reports and clearinghouses such as the ones produced by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation through the Office of Administration for Children and Families. Others are guides and toolkits designed for specific initiatives, such as the CDFI Fund’s Technical Assistance Resource Banks for CDFIs, health literacy toolkits from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and civic engagement toolkits from the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, which is designed to increase access and awareness of nutrition assistance programs. Together, the enterprise of state and federal governments produces vast quantities of information that is owned by the public and is a critical component of transparency. Nonprofits often access this information to develop a better understanding of community needs, to identify emerging trends and solutions, to share resources with the communities they serve, and to engage in meaningful dialogue about relevant issues. The importance of public information cannot be understated as a collective resource that should be embraced by citizens, politicians, and the leaders of public institutions. As a result, nonprofits often see the promotion of transparency as a core part of their complex array of roles.One of the most drastic examples of failing to live up to this obligation of transparency and dissemination of publicly owned information is the systematic dismantling of public information related to climate change by the current administration. This process has been documented by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI), an international network of academics and nonprofits who have zeroed in on the availability of public information through government sites, and in particular through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal departments. In January, EDGI released a detailed report called “Changing the Digital Climate” that documents the censorship of climate change data. The report outlines censorship tactics over the past year and illustrates how shifts in government priorities inform the dissemination and availability of public information. While the report identifies several disconcerting developments, including the removal of entire websites and documents such as the EPAs Clean Power Plan website, as well as shifting language about the impact of fossil fuels, the overall scope of erosion of public information is troubling. The critique of this concerted effort is best summarized by Alex Howard, Deputy Director of the Sunlight Foundation, who says:Public understanding of public policy should be informed by public access to public research and evidence, not diminished or distorted. The United States government and the officials entrusted with stewardship of public lands and knowledge should be using its immense resources to enlighten and empower the nation, increasing resilience and igniting more effective responses to shared challenges. Removing information from the public’s view will not change the fact that human activity is having an impact upon our climate, nor the urgency of acting upon that reality.Though the EDGI report captures the changing tide of priorities and how those shifts are leading to less data on climate change, there are other things to consider. Certainly, some removed information can be accessed and viewed using tools such as Internet Archive; however, not all information is available. Furthermore, recent changes to the federal government’s FOIA portal for requesting public information reveal larger efforts to obscure public access to information by eliminating certain features and spotlights, which in the past have highlighted specific reports and initiatives of public concern. While these examples relate to the federal government, state governments have their own issues, such as the recent move by the Washington State legislature to shield representative records from public view (SB 6617), which was passed without debate, and was referred to by the Washington Coalition for Open Government as “an abomination.”As more people and nonprofits recognize the importance of public information and transparency in the face of attempts to hide data, it’s important to note that there are existing efforts that offer promise. One such example is the recently completed Sunshine Week, organized by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee, which is an annual nationwide celebration of access to public information. Efforts like this spotlight the ways in which government should operate in partnership with civil society, both by offering resources for public review, and by collaborating with stakeholders, researchers, and institutions on dissemination of such materials. Nonprofits know all too well the value of transparency and have invested countless hours and resources into ensuring that their operations meet transparency standards and requirements. It’s time to remember how transparency extends to the public sector as a conduit for participation and engagement in the institutions that govern democratic society.—Derrick RhaynShare25Tweet8ShareEmail33 Shares
UAE service provider Etisalat’s e-Vision service has launched a time-shifted version of its Indian channel e-masala.The channel, e-masala +2, will provide subscribers to the eLife triple-play offering to catch up on the channel’s programming two hours after the initial broadcast.Rashed Alabbar, vice-president, home product marketing at Etisalat said, “The introduction of e-masala +2 channel enriches our bouquet of TV services and will offer unmatched entertainment to our viewers. It will give our customers added-value with the opportunity to catch-up with the original programme within two hours of its broadcast. This means that customers can conveniently go about their daily lives without the hassle to rush back or miss any of their favourite Hindi, Tamil or Malayalam movies or shows.”
Tomas FranzenCom Hem is preparing to launch multiscreen services this year.Tomas Franzén, CEO of the Swedish cable operator, told Digital TV Europe, that the company will enable its digital TV customers to control the set-top using a range of devices by the end of the year. He said they are also planning a TV Everywhere service offering content on various devices. “The products that we will come up with by the end of the year will offer a more seamless experience for the customer so they can control the TV screen with multiple devices and they will also consume TV services on multiple devices,” he said. “It is a TV Everywhere solution and we will focus on the ease of use.”Franzén said the company would use on-demand and timeshifting services to tempt its analogue customers to switch to digital services. “Offering extra linear channels is not enough to make people pay extra to go digital,” he said. “We’ve seen that people taking an on-demand service and using timeshifting show a willingness to pay for it and to stay with us.”Com Hem has around 650,000 digital TV subscribers from a total customer base of around 1.8 million.
UPC’s Hungarian DTH platform UPC Direct has added romance channel Story5 to its line-up.Launched last year, the channel airs romantic series and telenovelas for 20 hours a day from 06:00 to 02:00. Story 5 is the sister channel of Story4, both of which are operated by Sanoma Digital Media.
Pay TV operator Sky Deutschland has struck a deal with German film producer and distributor Constantin Film to include Constantin production and co-productions in its offering.The agreement covers content to which Constantin Film holds the pay TV rights from now until 2015. Titles include Blutzbrüdaz, Wickie auf großer Fahrt, The Mortal Instruments and 3096 as well as international titles including Resident Evil: Retribution and The Three Musketeers.In addition to linear distribution, the deal will cover PPV and transactional video-on-demand rights, enabling Sky to distribute Constantin Film titles via its Sky Anytime and Sky Go services.
Russian telco ER-Telecom ended June with 4.5 million subscribers.The telco added 600,000 new customers in the first half of the year, increasing the subscriber base by 15%. Out of the total number of new connections, 28% subscribers signed up to telecom services for the first time, while 72% switch over from other providers.
Telefónica Digital has chosen Mariner Partners’ Mariner xVu as the exclusive end-to-end monitoring tool for its Global Video Platform (GVP).The GVP offers two types of services: a pay TV service using IPTV or satellite hybrid TV; and a pure OTT service, commercially named Play, which is a video-on-demand service available over a wide range of devices. Both products have been launched in Brazil and will be implemented in European and Latin American countries over the coming years.GVP IPTV services are based on Microsoft Mediaroom middleware and technology provider OTT Networks’ MiB (Media-iBox) technology. Mariner xVu was the first and most widely deployed end-to-end monitoring solution for Mediaroom.“Our objective is to deliver reliable, high-quality video services to a growing number of screens and devices, which requires consistent, end-to-end monitoring across all GVP services,” said Luis Velo, head of media services at Telefónica Digital. “We chose Mariner xVu real-time IP video analytics software based on its unique ability to identify network and content issues affecting multiple consumers, as well as provide in-home and neighborhood status for individual consumers.”Mariner’s IP video monitoring solution, Mariner xVu, harvests data from multiple sources to build a real-time view of the video performance associated with consumer devices, households, neighbourhoods, networks, and content sources. This allows for identification and localisation of issues affecting customers, and provides customer care with valuable, enhanced visibility, according to the company.“Consumers value a superior video quality, and we are seeing a global trend for new service offerings that include internet and mobile video delivered to a diverse array of consumer devices,” said Curtis Howe, President and CEO of Mariner. “Mariner xVu software is in its fourth generation of deployment and is a proven solution for increasing video reliability and customer satisfaction as the network scales. Our consumer-centric monitoring at the edge of the network is efficient at reducing OPEX costs for network and field operations teams as they scale and support more devices.”Mariner xVu and Telefónica Digital are finalists in the TV Connect Industry Awards 2013. Mariner xVu is shortlisted in the category of Best Network Technology for IP TV & OTT TV, while Telefónica Digital is shortlisted for Global Video Service in the Best Multiscreen TV Service category and the Telefónica Global Video Platform in the Best Service Delivery Platform for IPTV & OTT TV category.
Technology company Arris has made its new E6000 converged edge router generally available.According to Arris, the E6000 has the capabilitity to realise the vision of the Comcast-sponsored CCAP initiative, which is designed to bring about a much denser headend infrastructure with the convergence of data, voice and video delivery.The device is currently configured as a dense CMTS, although Arris has demonstrated the delivery of converged services over a single F-connector at the most recent NCTA Cable Show.“We’re excited to declare the General Availability of the E6000 CER,” said Bruce McClelland, president, network and cloud global services, Arris. “Operators today are benefitting from the unrivaled efficiencies of the E6000 CER – in rack space, power consumption, cooling, advanced services and new applications.”