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ITDC celebrates eighth edition of Public Sector Day across verticals

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first_imgIndia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the public sector undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism celebrated its eighth Public Sector Day from April 10-16, 2017.To celebrate the PSU day, ITDC being a Miniratna PSU organised multiple events at all its verticals. To start with AIHTM (Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management), a hospitality institute under ITDC had conducted a nukkad natak focusing on ‘Skill India’ at the premises of Scope Complex. The performances were made by the students of AIHTM, ITDC.The event witnessed a gathering from other renowned PSUs. Pradip Kumar Das, Director Finance, ITDC and other senior officials were also present for the occasion.Every year, Public Sector Day is celebrated considering the significant contributions made by Public Sector Enterprises to the national economy and with the mission to create awareness among the public at large about the notable achievements, performance and role played by them.last_img read more

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Lawmakers Not Giving Up on GSE Reform

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first_img It appears GSE reform may actually be on the horizon—or at least discussed regularly in Washington—thanks to a new bill proposed by Congressman French Hill (R-Arkansas) recently.The bill, called the HR 5505 GSE Review and Reform Act, would require the U.S Treasury Secretary to study the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac annually, as well as the impact ending that conservatorship might have. The bill would also require the Treasury to present recommendations to Congress each year on how to progress GSE reform and move toward ending the conservatorship.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been under FHFA conservatorship for eight years, when the GSEs required a bailout after the housing market crashed in 2008. Though both Democrats and Republicans have pushed for GSE reform in recent years, Hill says little has been done by Congress to change the conservatorship or even consider a path toward reforming the current system.“There has been no progress toward moving these federally dependent GSEs out of the conservatorship,” Hill said. “My bill would force Treasury to study this issue and present its recommendations to Congress at least once a year, creating engagement on the best path forward on housing finance reform to end taxpayer exposure and ensure access to mortgage credit for Americans.”“There has been no progress toward moving these federally dependent GSEs out of the conservatorship.”Rep. French Hill (R-Arkansas)GSE reform has been hot in the news lately, with parties on both sides of the aisle making pushes in Congress. In mid-May, 12 right-center organizations wrote a letter that urged Congress to pass the Mulvaney Bill, a GSE reform bill sponsored by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-South Carolina) that would suspend the GSE’s obligation to fund the National Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund until they were better capitalized.Not long after that, a group of 32 Democratic House of Representatives members wrote to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and FHFA Director Mel Watt to demand reassessment of the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement (PSPA), which requires the GSEs to have a capital buffer of zero by Jan. 1 of next year. This request came on the back of Watt’s February speech at the Bipartisan Policy Center, when he proclaimed the GSEs’ capital buffer as one of the biggest risks of conservatorship to date.Catch up on the latest news about GSE reform here. Share in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Secondary Market Fannie Mae Freddie Mac GSE Reform Rep. French Hill 2016-06-20 Seth Welborncenter_img Lawmakers Not Giving Up on GSE Reform June 20, 2016 667 Views last_img read more

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Diversity The Thing Homeowners All Have in Common

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first_imgDiversity: The Thing Homeowners All Have in Common The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) finalized four amendments to its Minority and Women Inclusion regulations today. The amendments, initially announced in October 2016, clarify the scope of the FHFA’s regulations and also provide guidance on the implementation of diversity and inclusion efforts.The FHFA adopted its inclusion regulations in 2010, just after the 2008 passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. HERA requires Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the Office of Finance—and all its regulated entities—to encourage diversity and inclusion throughout their organizations and in their business activity.In October, the Agency proposed four amendments to clarify further the regulations’ scope, as well as offer implementation guidance to those institutions which it applies. Specifically, the amendments require entities to:Develop strategic plans regarding their diversity and inclusion efforts—or, at the very least, include diversity and inclusion as part of their overall strategic planning sessions,Expand opportunities to minorities, women, and disabled persons when using contractors or vendors;Amend their equal opportunity in employment policies to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and status as a parent, andProvide details on diversity efforts—including those done through affordable housing programs, community investment programs, and capital market transactions—in their annual FHFA reports.The Agency accepted comments on the proposed amendments for 60 days following their release in October last year. Today’s rule finalizes those amendments; it has been published in the Federal Register and will go into effect in 30 days.Today’s final rule is just one of many diversity efforts currently underway in the financial and housing sectors. There are also diversity-focused industry groups, like the American Mortgage Diversity Council, working to expand inclusion initiatives even further.The AMDC aims to address the challenges faced by minorities and women in the industry, as well as encourage supply chain, workforce, and strategy diversification, through events, monthly publications, compliance guidance, training, education, advocacy, and more. The council boasts leaders from GSEs, federal banks, private lenders, credit unions, and other financial institutions from across the country.Learn more about the American Mortgage Diversity Council at MortgageDiversityCouncil.com. July 13, 2017 567 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlinescenter_img Diversity FHFA Inclusion mortgage 2017-07-13 Aly J. Yale Sharelast_img read more

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Destroyer with Nicole Kidman in Toronto film fes

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first_img‘Destroyer’ with Nicole Kidman in Toronto film festival’s Platform prize program Nicole Kidman arrives on the red carpet for the premiere of the film “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festiva,l in Toronto on Saturday, September 9, 2017. A crime thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Regina native Tatiana Maslany will compete for a $25,000 jury prize at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn by The Canadian Press Posted Aug 8, 2018 7:09 am PDT Last Updated Aug 8, 2018 at 8:00 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emailcenter_img TORONTO – A crime thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Regina native Tatiana Maslany will compete for a $25,000 jury prize at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.“Destroyer,” directed by Karyn Kusama, will be among 12 feature films screening in the festival’s international Platform program.It stars Kidman as a police detective dealing with the repercussions of a dark undercover assignment from her past.Other films competing for the prize include “Her Smell” by Alex Ross Perry, starring Elisabeth Moss, Amber Heard, and Cara Delevingne.Meanwhile, Patricia Clarkson is among the stars of “Out of Blue” by Carol Morley, and Jamie Bell stars in “Donnybrook” by Tim Sutton.Now in its fourth year, the Platform program features works that have high artistic merit and a strong directorial vision.Previous titles that have screened as part of the program include Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie” and Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight.”A three-person international jury will announce the winner on the last day of the fest, which runs Sept. 6 to 16.The rest of this year’s Platform program comprises:— “Angelo” by Markus Schleinzer— “Cities of Last Things” by Ho Wi Ding— “The Good Girls” by Alejandra Marquez Abella— “The Innocent” by Simon Jaquemet— “Jessica Forever” by Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel— “Mademoiselle de Joncquieres” by Emmanuel Mouret— “The River” by Emir Baigazin— “Rojo” by Benjamin Naishtatlast_img read more

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by Scott Stroud The Associated Press Posted M

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first_img by Scott Stroud, The Associated Press Posted May 9, 2019 9:30 am PDT This cover image released by Berkalin Records shows “Honest,” a release by Ordinary Elephant. (Berkalin Records via AP) Ordinary Elephant, “Honest” (Berkalin Records)A remarkable new album by a husband and wife duo who quit their jobs to go all-in on their music is full of elegant contradictions that somehow converge into one of the best Americana albums of the year.“Honest” was funded with a Kickstarter campaign, according to the liner notes. That’s not something you often see with music this polished and authentic.The contradictions begin with the band name, which sounds like a ’90s jangle-pop band that never broke through. If that’s your expectation, prepare to be surprised.The album’s understated elegance is built around the lead vocals of Crystal Hariu-Damore, who finds the sweet spot between world-weary and intense. It’s a trick you might expect from some of the world’s great singers, but on a Kickstarter-funded effort it’s a revelation.Then come the harmonies of her husband, Pete Damore, which are both carefully studied and easygoing. He dedicates his singing to complementing hers. Perhaps most importantly, he knows when not to sing.Lyrically, every song here has heft. The writing is visual and moving throughout. There’s the artfully political “If I Am Being Honest” which wrestles with a violent world with genuine anguish but never seems preachy. And one of the sweetest songs is the closer “Hope to Be That Happy,” a moving homage to an elderly woman that embeds its tribute in tender imagery.“Honest” is extraordinary from start to finish in that way. It’s a dazzling album with no false notes.Scott Stroud, The Associated Press AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Review: Unheralded duo delivers a gem from Kickstarter roughlast_img read more

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Strong Reactions to AntiGay Ugandan Law Include Withdrawal of Aid

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first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesFebruary 24, 2014; CNNThe anti-gay bill signed into law yesterday by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni increases the penalties for homosexual acts, which are already illegal in Uganda, as they are in 37 other African countries. This bill originally included the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” but it was put on hold and execution was replaced with life in prison after European nations threatened to withdraw aid. Those who reach out to gays and lesbians are also subject to prison terms, thereby making advocacy and support activities punishable by law.In signing the bill, Museveni risks any number of relationships and a good deal of money. Norway and Denmark have already withdrawn their aid to the government and redirected it to NGOs. Over this past weekend, Desmond Tutu decried the proposal, declaring, “We must be entirely clear about this: the history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste, and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of God. There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts.”Museveni changed his position on the bill a number of times before signing it. In January, he said he wouldn’t sign the bill, but by February, he’d changed his mind because, he said, scientists had proven that homosexuality is a chosen behavior. “No study has shown you can be homosexual by nature” he said,” That’s why I have agreed to sign the bill.”The United States is one of Uganda’s biggest sources of aid, and U.S. President Barack Obama called the proposal as an “affront and a danger to the gay community” in Uganda. The U.S. is among the nation’s largest donors, but Museveni has declared that the West’s perceptions of his country are of no concern.“Worried? Not at all,” he told CNN. “If the West doesn’t want to work with us because of homosexuals, then we have enough space here to live by ourselves and do business with other people.”“We see how you do things, the families, how they’re organized. All the things, we see them, we keep quiet,” he said. “It’s not our country, maybe you like it. So there’s now an attempt at social imperialism—to impose social values of one group on our society.”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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LA Board of Ed Poised to Oppose Broad Foundations Charter Expansion Plan

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first_imgShare4TweetShare1Email5 SharesBy Fahim Fadz. (Flickr: [1]) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsDecember 2, 2015; Los Angeles TimesThe battle over an audacious plan to enroll nearly half of the students in the nation’s second-largest school district in charters continues.The Los Angeles Times reports that the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Board of Trustees is poised to vote on a proposal to oppose “market-driven” education reforms in the wake of a plan by a number of foundations to create 260 new charter schools in the district.The proposal stops short of having the board vote to take a stand against the expansion plan put forward by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and supported by a handful of large funders. Specifically, it will ask the Board of Education to oppose “external initiatives that seek to reduce public education in Los Angeles to an educational marketplace and our children to market shares.”The charter proposal calls for half of district students to enroll in charters over the next eight years. It was developed without input from LAUSD, and California law would allow it to be implemented over the objections of district staff and individual board members.The plan proposes raising $490 million; last month, charter advocates formed a nonprofit organization to implement it. Charter schools are publicly funded and independently managed, and they are exempt from rules that govern traditional campuses. Most are nonunion.Advocates say that charters do a better job educating students, and they are popular with parents. Many experts, along with teachers unions, have their doubts about their effectiveness. Currently, about 15 percent of LAUSD students are in charters.The move to oppose the effort is based on the belief that some charters don’t serve all students and that the dramatic growth of charters would impede LAUSD’s ability to provide the resources needed to sustain and improve district-operated campuses. The Times reports that the proposal criticizes external efforts that fail to support “districtwide programs and strategies that benefit every student whom we are sworn to serve.”—Larry KaplanShare4TweetShare1Email5 Shareslast_img read more

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Development Model Integrates Affordable Housing for People with Mental Illness

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first_imgShare26TweetShare9Email35 SharesDecember 13, 2015; Rochester Democrat & ChronicleA story in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle discusses how two nonprofits are partnering to create an affordable housing development where people recovering from mental illness will live alongside families who make 60 percent or less of the area’s median income.The rehabilitation agency East House will partner with PathStone Development Corp. to build a three-story, 60-unit apartment building at 175 Alexander St. in Rochester, N.Y., in what is now a parking area behind East House’s headquarters and across the street from Monroe High School. Half of these Alexander Street Apartments will be dedicated to people who are recovering from mental illness and the other half to low-income residents, said Monica McCullough, senior vice president of housing at PathStone.This project represents a new housing development strategy promoted by Enterprise Community Partners (ECP) and other nonprofit developers in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision in Texas v. Inclusive Communities. Many nonprofit developers were stung by the accusation that they were perpetuating segregation by preserving low-income housing in low-income neighborhoods.In response, nonprofit developers have promoted a “both/and” strategy that calls for locating projects in low-poverty areas as well as working in areas of high need. For some, “both/and” sounds a bit like a moral balance sheet: preserve some projects where people live now, while creating others in higher-opportunity areas. Skeptics argue that “both/and” only makes sense if integration and opportunities for mobility take place in some form in every project from now on. The Alexander Street Apartments seems to be an effort to make a workable “both/and” project.The property will be located near downtown Rochester in an area that has seen residential reinvestment in recent years. Persons with a mental health disability will live in the same building as families benefiting from affordable rents, in a neighborhood with newly renovated market-rate housing. Both social service providers and housing developers have traditionally preferred concentrations of assisted housing. The former benefit from economies of scale when they can deliver services to a single location. That latter can construct housing at a single site, reducing development and operating costs. But federal policy for both social service and housing developers is flowing in the opposite direction — favoring deconcentration and integration.Another Supreme Court decision comes into play in this story. In their 1999 Olmstead v. L.C. decision, the justices required that states provide services to disabled persons in the least-restrictive settings possible. By moving treatment facilities into a residential community that is integrated with nondisabled tenants, PathStone has found a way to address the Olmstead mandate.Many more experiments such as the Alexander Street Apartments are needed to help flesh out how a “both/and” strategy can work in a single development project. One idea is to pair a property in a low-income neighborhood with a property in a service-rich community. The developer can next move tenants from a “traditional” low-income building and offer to relocate them into the partner facility. Clearly, social-service and housing providers have challenges to meet their client’s social needs as well as their individual and economic needs in designing these new projects.—Spencer WellsShare26TweetShare9Email35 Shareslast_img read more

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Bigotry as Careerkiller McCrory Suffering Consequences from HB2 Fallout

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first_imgShare70Tweet8Share7Email85 Shares“Gov. Pat McCrory Announces new Strategic Mobility Formula” by NCDOT CommunicationsMarch 20, 2017; SalonFormer North Carolina governor Pat McCrory says he is having a hard time finding a new job. McCrory, as readers may remember, was governor when House Bill 2 (more popularly known as the “bathroom bill”) was passed. He has since been voted out of office, and he says that the reputation of “bigot” has made him career-challenged in these days of greater attention to inclusion—although that is not exactly how he put it.Even after I left office, people are reluctant to hire me because, “oh my gosh, he’s a bigot,” which is the last thing I am. I’m actually in some ways rather liberal on some of these issues. I’m a libertarian on many of these issues. But I don’t think a city government or state government or federal government should be able to tell the private sector what the new definition of gender is.“If you disagree with the politically correct thought police on this new definition of gender…you’re the worst of evil,” McCrory said. “It’s almost as if I broke a law.”Maybe not a law, but certainly an emerging standard that can seriously affect the bottom line.McCrory blames the Human Rights Campaign for his defeat in his campaign for reelection, calling the group “more powerful than the NRA.” This is only one of a number of statements the former governor made that we sincerely hope are true.“I said that nine months ago and everyone laughed,” McCrory said, “and now everyone’s going, ‘You know, maybe they are,’ because they put their pressure on corporations. The NRA puts pressure on politicians. The HRC puts public pressure, threatened boycotts on major corporations through the U.S. with a false narrative, and it worked.”Nico Lang writes for Salon:The reason that no one wants to hire McCrory, though, has nothing to do with the tyranny of left-wing ideologues. Businesses who have spent the past few decades making a name for themselves as leaders in corporate equality are unlikely to jeopardize their reputation by hiring someone whose public record is opposed to fostering an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion. If the economic fallout over HB2 was proof positive that anti-LGBT discrimination is bad for business, McCrory is finding out the hard way that bigotry is also bad for your career.Lang writes that things have changed since the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index first launched in 2002. The landscape for LGBT rights was completely different: Only 13 corporations boasted perfect scores when it came to LGBT inclusion, compared to 15 times that number now. That may have something to do with the fact that the global buying power of the LGBT community is estimated at $1.8 trillion and that “queer and transgender people tend to support companies that support them.” And, conversely, they do not do business with corporations that indicate they may not be supportive.“What businesses have found—well ahead of lawmakers and the courts—is that being an LGBT-inclusive employer is crucial when it comes to attracting and retaining talent and when it comes to appealing to the ever-growing lucrative LGBT consumer market,” said Deena Fidas, Director of the Workplace Equality Program at HRC. “It’s just part of doing business.”In 2013, advocacy groups like HRC and GLAAD called for a boycott of Barilla after its CEO, Guido Barilla, claimed that the popular pasta brand would not be featuring same-sex families in its advertisements, as the company supports a “classic family where the woman has a fundamental role.” The backlash was effective enough that Fidas said executives “totally [transformed] the company with regards to their policies, their benefits, and their internal practices on LGBT inclusion.” By 2014, Barilla became one of those perfect-scoring companies atop the Corporate Equality Index.Over the past five years, businesses and governments all over the United States have felt the very real financial consequences of discriminating against LGBT persons. McCrory’s former gig does not speak well to his understanding of this very serious new environment. North Carolina has lost up to $201 million in tourism and tax revenue. He is a poster child for exclusion, and that is indeed likely to limit him in his future career if we continue to grow increasingly inclusive as a society.McCrory caps the whole thing off with this musing:I get all these people coming up to me and going, “Hey, governor, I agree with you on this issue, we’re behind you.” They were whispering. And this is one fault I have of the silent majority: The silent majority’s too silent! And they let the loud minority actually speak and win the election. So I’m starting to wonder—maybe the silent majority’s no longer the majority anymore.Right.—Ruth McCambridgeShare70Tweet8Share7Email85 Shareslast_img read more

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Climate Change Will Change the Work of Nonprofits

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first_imgShare52Tweet5Share30Email87 Shares“Thorpe Marsh Power Station.” Credit: underclassrising.netApril 13, 2017; CNN, “Health”It’s no secret that industrialization has created a number of public health concerns, such as air and water pollution, and chemical contamination of food and soil. But have we considered that global warming may have equally catastrophic effects?A report from the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health mapped how climate change threatens the health of people across the United States and how those threats vary by region.As President Trump attempts to curb both federal environmental regulations and Americans’ federal guarantees of access to healthcare, it may be worth considering that the future public health environment will look different from what we see today.Rising temperatures, rising shorelines, increases in flooding and other weather events, wildfires, and air quality reduction will impact millions of people. An EPA report concluded that policies to prevent a 2˚ Celsius rise in global temperatures could save 12,000 lives in the next 80 years just from extreme heat and cold. The WHO estimates that 12.6 million people already die each year from unhealthy environments, or 1 in 4 global deaths.In New England and other coastal areas, rising oceans and rainfall means wetter, hotter environments, where mosquitoes love to grow. Already, outbreaks of Zika, West Nile virus, and other mosquito-borne diseases are popping up in the U.S.; other contaminations to food or water are also a possibility. Other regions of the country face the opposite problem; the National Academies of Science, Engineering, & Medicine estimated that the southwestern U.S. could see a 12 percent reduction in river and stream water with just a 1˚C rise in temperature.You may have noticed that your allergies are getting worse in recent years. Well, that’s because ragweed and other pollen-producing plants that flourish in hot weather now experience longer growing seasons, and even grow more robustly when there is more CO2 for them to process. (After all, it’s plant food!) According to the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, “When exposed to warmer temperatures and higher levels of CO2, plants grow more vigorously and produce more pollen than they otherwise would.” In addition, increased levels of ozone and CO2 reduce general air quality, causing higher levels of respiratory and other illnesses.It’s not just allergen-producing plants that are affected by CO2; the plants we eat are affected by it as well, and not in a good way. According to National Geographic, crops that use the C3 type of photosynthesis—a group that includes rice, wheat, peas, and soybeans—have reduced levels of zinc, protein, and iron when grown in high-CO2 environments. Two billion people, or one-quarter of the world’s population, get 60 percent of their zinc and iron through eating these crops that are now increasing their production of carbohydrates at the expense of these essential nutrients. The Gates foundation and USAID have been able to breed cultivars that are more resistant to nutrient depletion, but yields are lower, so it doesn’t entirely solve the problem of shortages.That’s a problem for Americans, but it’s a bigger problem for people in developing countries. Scientists estimate that areas of northern Africa in and around the Sahel and Sahara deserts will become uninhabitable in the summer months. Countries like Chad, Sudan, Morocco, Botswana, and others will lose huge amounts of inhabitable land. Seventy percent of Sudanese people rely on agriculture for their livelihood, but increased desertification due to climate change is rapidly reducing the amount of available, arable land. NPQ documented how a dearth of clean water in Chad led to an outbreak of Hepatitis E already this year. In addition, northern African countries rely on their production of cotton, sorghum, millet, peanuts, and sugarcane to sustain their economies, which may become impossible if growing conditions change.If the migrant crisis from North Africa is bad now, it will only be worse when large swathes of the area become uninhabitable. Crowding in refugee camps is an indirect effect of climate change, but it’s one that is known to have detrimental health effects for millions of people. Even if, as in the United States, people who are displaced by natural events like floods or fires don’t end up in refugee camps, they still suffer mental health wounds. Dr. Mona Sarfaty, director of the program on climate and health at George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, says, “When people are displaced from their homes because of floods or extreme storms…this loss of home and separation from family and community leads to mental health impacts that can be reflected in substance abuse, alcoholism, domestic strife or violence, depression or anxiety.”So what can nonprofits do? In the face of rising public health threats, preparation and preventative care needs may change as risk factors alter; as nimble organizations that respond to public needs, nonprofits may see a change in what is asked of them in our warmer future.—Erin RubinShare52Tweet5Share30Email87 Shareslast_img read more

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iPlayer the BBCs online TV platform received 11

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first_imgiPlayer, the BBC’s online TV platform, received 113 million video requests in September. That figure is up from 86 million for the same period last year.The BBC is seeing iPlayer usage from devices other than computers continuing to rise, with tablet requests increasing to 4.6 million in September from four million during the previous month.Doctor Who, Outnumbered and Waterloo Road were the most requested shows in September.last_img

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Polish pay TV operator n has secured rights to W

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first_imgPolish pay TV operator ‘n’ has secured rights to World Series Boxing (WSB). ‘n’ will air bouts on the competition on its nSport HD service.WSB boxing, a team-based competition run by the AIBA international boxing association, comprises a series of matches in five classes with each fight comprising five three-minute rounds.last_img

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Modern Times Group MTG is to create a new digit

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first_imgModern Times Group (MTG) is to create a new ‘digital hub’ to accelerate the pace of its innovation and expansion into digital distribution.The new unit, MTGx, will he headed by MTG executive vice-president and chief digital officer Rikard Steiber (pictured). The division will be charged with developing video-on-demand experiences, building a portfolio of new entertainment services and providing centralised digital skills and platforms for the Group across all markets and companies.MTGx will comprise four pillars.xPlay will be focused on advertising-funded online catch-up services for its TV channels and vertical offering like sports and music content as well as the online pay TV service Viaplay.xVentures will be responsible for building, partnering and investing in a portfolio of new entertainment services like the second screen service Like.tv and the online gaming portal Viagame. As part of this effort xVentures will establish presences in start-up communities in several countries, with an initial focus on Sweden, the UK, and the US, to find partnership and investment opportunities.A third pillar, xCreations, will comprise a digital production hub for the creation of “digital first” content for web and mobile platforms as well as extending the life cycle of traditional linear TV content by utilizing the opportunities presented by the digital environment and social media, while a fourth, xLabs, will be the R&D centre for the entire hub.MTG has begun a process of hiring talent and says it has made a number of key hires from the likes of Google, Spotify and Universal Music in recent months.“We want to create personal and social user experiences that connect people to the entertainment they love the most from their favourite movies, sports, series, music, and games, and I look forward to building MTGx as an integrated part of MTG’s digital activities going forward,” said Steiber.Separately, Separately, MTG has finalised its acquisition of UK-based distributor DRG, and bought Norwegian production company Novemberfilm.The Scandinavian production and broadcast group has beaten off competition from Sky Vision to acquire a 92.4% stake in DRG, which counts The Inbetweeners and Don’t Tell the Bride in its catalogue, for an enterprise value of £15 million (€18 million).last_img read more

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Russian DTH pay TV provider Tricolor TV is now the

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first_imgRussian DTH pay TV provider Tricolor TV is now the leading digital pay TV service in the lucrative Moscow market, according to figures compiled by analyst group Telecomdaily.According to Telecomdaily, Tricolor TV had 548,000 digital subscribers in the capital at the end of June, compared with 502,000 for former market leader Akado.When analogue subscribers are included, the market leader in Moscow is  Rostelecom, with 3.2 million homes, followed by Akado with 1.1 million.last_img

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Russias Channel One has chosen video technology p

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first_imgRussia’s Channel One has chosen video technology provider Elemental’s video processing platform for its coverage of the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi.Elemental systems will process nine channels of Channel One/Perviy Kanal Olympics programming for delivery of video over IP networks to multiple devices. Channel One/Perviy Kanal is the primary content distributor for the host country of the games.Last year, Channel One used Elemental Live during the Direct Line with President Putin broadcast over the internet. Elemental systems performed live video processing during the interactive programme, which featured president Vladimir Putin answering questions from Russian citizens.Elemental will highlight its file-based and live-linear streaming technologies as well as its 4K, HEVC and cloud video processing solutions at the CSTB trade show in Moscow next week.last_img read more

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The European Coalition for Cultural Diversity have

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first_imgThe European Coalition for Cultural Diversity have called for a renewed effort by Europe to create a financial system of cultural support that meets the needs of the digital era.The group has organised a conference at the European Parliament in Brussels with the support of deputy Pervenche Bérès to push for the ending of a financial regime that it sees as penalising cultural production and benefiting large multinational corporations.The coalition has called for cultural goods sold via digital distribution platforms to benefit from the same tax breaks afforded to other cultural goods, and praised European countries that have levied VAT on digital books at the same rate as physical books as setting a good example.The group also called for an overhaul of taxes applied to cultural goods at a European level to prevent international groups avoiding their responsibilities, including the responsibility to support domestic cultural production.last_img read more

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Liberty Globalbacked Belgian cable operator Telen

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first_imgLiberty Global-backed Belgian cable operator Telenet and Flemish commercial broadcaster Medalaan have signed a new deal that will see content from the VTM, 2BE, Vitaya, VTMKZOOM and JIM channels made available on Telenet’s Yelo TV multiscreen service.The new agreement, which will cover live and on-demand TV rights until 2017, will enable all Telenet Yelo TV users to watch Medialaan programmes on tablets, PCs and smartphones.Telenet said it hoped to be able to add the channels by the summer, with time-shifted viewing to be added later.“I’m very pleased with this agreement. TV viewing habits are changing dramatically, and that’s good news, because people watch TV more than ever,” said Peter Bossaert, CEO of Medialaan.“Together, Medialaan and Telenet will now seize the opportunity to develop this growth market further, and to update and innovate the existing television services at no additional cost for the viewer. We believe that cooperation between our companies creates value. We needed a little time for this, and have worked hard on it over the past few months. But I’m pleased that we’ve been able to make a clean break with the past and can look to the future once again.”last_img read more

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Latin American telco America Movil has upped its s

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first_imgLatin American telco America Movil has upped its stake in Telekom Austria to a majority 50.8% after agreeing to buy some €743.4 million-worth of shares in the European operator.Announcing the deal this morning, Telekom Austria said that America Movil had agreed to buy 103.98 million shares representing approximately 23.47% of the share capital of Telekom Austria at a price of €7.15 per share.The deal, which comes after America Movil had initially offered to buy all shares of Telekom Austria, will see it own a total of 225.09 million shares in the business, representing roughly 50.80% of the share capital of Telekom Austria.According to terms of the offer, which expired last Thursday, payment is due to be made on or before July 24.America Movil acquired a 21% stake in Telekom Austria back in 2012 and last year announced plans to make a €7.2 billion bid for all issued and outstanding shares in KPN in the Netherlands.Telekom Austria claims roughly 23 million customers in central and eastern Europe. It offers services including IPTV, voice telephony and broadband internet and has a presence in eight countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Belarus, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia and Liechtenstein.last_img read more

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Investment in OTT content freetoair broadcastin

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first_imgInvestment in OTT content, free-to-air broadcasting, production outfits and sports rights form four pillars of Liberty Global’s new content investment strategy, according to president and CEO Mike Fries, with all four seen as ways to reinforce the company’s core distribution business.Following Liberty’s sale of its Chellomedia linear channel business to AMC, the company, far from turning away from content, has made a series of high-profile investments in different sectors in different markets – notably an investment in OTT rights for the My Prime streaming service in the Netherlands – designed specifically to counter Netflix; an investment in a 50% stake Flemish free-to-air broadcaster De Vijver and a 6% stake in UK commercial broadcaster ITV; and its acquisition of production outfit All3Media with Discovery. It has also invested in non-exclusive rights to Belgium’s Jupiler League through Belgium.Speaking to analysts after the company’s quarterly results this week, Fries said that Liberty’s content investments were “generally long term strategic moves”, with the partial exception of ITV, which is seen more as an opportunistic investment with some strategic benefits.Fries highlighted the success of the My Prime streaming service in the Netherlands, which is offered free of charge to premium cable subscribers and for €5.60 to basic subs. He said the service had been tried by over half of entitled subscribers. Fries said My Prime “pre-empts” Netflix, which launched in the Netherlands last year, by offering a similar SVoD product “for free”.On De Vijver, Fries said that the acquistion of a 50% stake would strengthen local subsidiary Telenet by providing access to content and production facilities that could be used to feed linear and SVoD channel offerings,  while its investment in All3Media provided access to a large catalogue of content.Fries said that Liberty’s investment in De Vijver and ITV also provided “a hedge” against the imposition of US-style retransmission rights, forcing distributors to pay for the right to transmit free-to-air channels on their networks.last_img read more

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Sky is adding to new enhancements to its targeted

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first_imgSky is adding to new enhancements to its targeted advertising service, AdSmart, including more precise location targeting.From November, advertisers using AdSmart will be able to deliver TV ads to Sky homes based on the first two letters of their area postcode.Previously advertisers could use the platform to target only by TV region or metropolitan area.The second new feature will allow advertisers to use their own customer data to help them reach their preferred audiences – on top of the 90 customer attribute segments already offered by Sky AdSmart.The updates were announced at IBC yesterday by Sky Media’s deputy managing director, Jamie West, who said:“We’ve seen a huge and growing demand for Sky AdSmart, opening up the UK’s most-loved medium to scores of advertisers who previously thought it was not relevant or out of reach.”“Building on our successful launch, we’re further strengthening the product to give advertisers additional ways of reaching their desired audiences on TV. We look forward to continuing to develop Sky AdSmart to give advertisers even more control over their TV campaigns.”West said that to date, 224 brands have run 640 individual campaigns using Sky AdSmart, and that a total of 577 million Sky AdSmart ads have been viewed in Sky homes.last_img read more

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