Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Travelweek Group LOS ANGELES — How do you touch all seven continents in just 72 hours? Easy, just follow in the footsteps of Kasey Stewart and Julie Berry.The two American travel photographers will depart tomorrow, Dec. 13, from Sydney, Australia in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record by touching every continent in just three days. Is it possible? If all goes to plan and there are no travel delays, the two will traverse across the world and arrive on King George Island, Antarctica the morning of Dec. 16 as world record holders.They’ll be racing against the clock – the current Guinness World Record record for ‘Fastest to touch all seven continents’ is five days.The route they’ll be taking is: Sydney, Australia; Dubai, UAE; Cairo, Egypt; Frankfurt, Germany; Toronto, Canada; Santiago, Chile; Punta Arenas, Chile; King George Island, Antarctica.The total estimated elapsed time to touch all seven continents will be 72-79 hours dependent upon weather for the last flight to Antarctica. The two will spend almost 50 hours in an airplane and have on average 3.6 hours on each continent. They will be leaving the airport on each continent for activities that include a limo ride through Dubai, having a drink in a tavern in Frankfurt, ascending the CN Tower in Toronto and winter shopping for Antarctica in Santiago. Quark Expeditions, the leading operator in polar expeditions, is sponsoring their final flight to Antarctica.More news: Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthLast year, after stepping foot in Antarctica, Stewart achieved his lifelong goal of travelling to all seven continents. “As a little kid, I always wanted to touch the corners of the earth and get a taste of every part of the world,” he said. “After I did that last December, I felt like I had barely scratched the surface and wanted to push myself to do something bigger.”For live updates on their trip, following them on Instagram: @Kasey and @JulieBerry. You can also visit 7in72.com for more details. << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Share The race is on! Travelling duo to attempt seven continents in 72 hours
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite thehorrendous terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, French officials have vowed to move forward with a major climate conference set to begin on Nov. 30.COP21 will bring together 100 heads of state, including U.S. President Barack Obama, and 40,000 other attendees. According to Time, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called COP21 “absolutely essential,” and France is expected to deploy at least 30,000 police officers to provide security.In an online statement, Nick Henry, CEO of Climate Action, said, “We are currently overseeing the tightening of event security with Stade de France to ensure that every possible measure is taken to prevent any further potential incident, details of which we will share here as soon as they have been confirmed.”With confirmation from France that COP21 will proceed, much work still remains for participating nations.Can it succeed?Last week – three days after scientists confirmed that average levels of carbon dioxide now exceed 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history – experts met in Washington to discuss Latin America’s climate change policy ahead of COP21.“The big question is whether to be optimistic or pessimistic about the upcoming meeting in Paris,” said Timmons Roberts, co-author with Guy Edwards of the new report “A Fragmented Continent: Latin America and the Global Politics of Climate Change.” “Will 2015 be different from Kyoto in 1997, Copenhagen in 2009 and all the other meetings since the first one in Berlin in 1995?” he asked.Roberts and Edwards spoke last Thursday at a Washington panel co-sponsored by Inter-American Dialogue and the Brookings Institution, along with Amal-Lee Amin, chief of the climate change and sustainability division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).Climate pledges for the COP21 talks, which run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, are consistent with a temperature rise of 2.7 C, implying investment needs of $13.5 trillion in low-carbon technologies and efficiency between now and 2030. Any global deal means that results will be based on climate action plans submitted by some 150 countries – known in official jargon as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – yet some of these INDCs are clearly more ambitious than others.Roberts called the 51-page text to be negotiated at COP21 “a mess,” noting that includes more than 1,000 brackets – or phrases where there are disagreements.The Brown University environmental studies professor said four broad issues will be hammered out in Paris: whether there should be a long-term carbon reduction goal and what that goal should be; how to share the burden of getting to those targets; who will pay for it all; and finally, what kind of compensation should be offered in the event poor countries simply cannot cope with the damage caused by climate change.“There’ll be a huge difference in how countries respond if Paris fails,” he warned. “The greatest risk is that countries will be left behind as the imperative becomes clear that we’ll have to decarbonize our economies.”There’s also little hope the world’s advanced industrial nations will be able to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries cope with rising seas and temperatures, as promised six years ago in Copenhagen by then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.“Financing is the most challenging aspect of the whole deal,” Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, recently told The New York Times. “There is no credible road map to the $100 billion.” From left, Timmons Roberts and Guy Edwards, co-authors of “A Fragmented Continent: Latin America and the Global Politics of Climate Change.” At right is moderator Harold Trinkunas of the Brookings Institution. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesLatin America blocsThe 304-page report written by Roberts and Edwards focuses on Latin America’s three major blocs at the U.N. climate talks and how they attempt to balance climate action with building prosperity.In the first group is Brazil, which has reduced its deforestation but continues its drive for economic growth and global recognition (as do other large developing countries such as China, India and South Africa). Second is a leftist group led by Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela – which rallies against the injustice of climate change but remains highly dependent on the export of fossil fuels.The third group, which includes Costa Rica, Chile and Peru and is supported by Mexico, offers sharp reductions in their carbon emissions in return for greater action by other countries.“President Luis Guillermo Solís has reconfirmed Costa Rica’s plans to become carbon-neutral by 2021, and its INDC has very ambitious targets for lowering per-capita emissions,” said Edwards. “Costa Rica offers something consistent with the 2C goal. President Solís was very keen to increase climate education and focus on adaptation, given Central America’s vulnerability, but also to create some kind of new mechanism for citizens to participate, so Costa Rica will be a very interesting example to follow.”The goal of reducing carbon emissions has taken on new urgency with a Nov. 9 announcement by the World Meteorological Organization that average levels of carbon dioxide exceeded 400 parts per million in the early months of 2015, a 43 percent rise over pre-industrial levels.In a separate report issued the same day, Britain’s University of East Anglia reported that the Earth’s temperature has crossed the 1C (1.8F) mark, with temperatures over the first nine months of this year exceeding historic norms by exactly 1.02C. All this comes amid concerns that 2015 will surpass 2014 as the hottest year in recorded history.“Around the world, disasters are coming more often,” said Roberts. “Summers are longer, the heat is more intense and rains are less predictable. But the economy is much better than 2009, when it was in free fall. Now things are more stable, except for Brazil and a few other places. Renewable energy, especially wind, has become as affordable as coal-fired power and even more so than natural gas. Solar energy has also come down in price, and Pope Francis has made climate change a priority of the Catholic Church.” Amal-Lee Amin, chief of the Inter-American Development Bank’s Climate Change and Sustainability Division, speaks Nov. 12 at Washington’s Inter-American Dialogue about the upcoming COP21 talks in Paris. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesYet observers say that except for Costa Rica, individual countries’ targets and goals as outlined in their INDCs aren’t ambitious enough.“Climate policies in the region appear to suffer from a lack of implementation, and are often undermined by the energy sector or by mining legislation,” complained Edwards. “To make the INDCs a success, we need to better integrate energy and climate objectives – things like fossil fuel subsidy reform and the promotion of public transport. These countries could send a very strong signal that they’re serious about these INDCs.”The IDB’s Amal said that in 2010, the bank set a target for 25 percent of its lending portfolio to finance climate sustainability and renewable energy projects. The IDB has since exceeded that goal, with 30 percent of loans – or about $2 billion – currently funding such projects.“A key area for the bank is how to turn these INDCs into investable projects on the ground. These investment plans can then form the basis for countries to ensure that their national climate objectives are fully integrated into their other national development plans,” Amal said, warning that climate change could shave up 4 percent of regional GDP in coming decades under a scenario in which temperatures rise by 2.5C.“The countries that are already the most vulnerable are the ones who will be impacted the most,” she said. “They’re also the ones least able to respond to those risks.”Read more COP21 coverage here Facebook Comments Related posts:With COP21 underway, development banks urged to boost ‘green finance’ in Latin America What Paris climate talks have accomplished Scientists say Greenland just opened up a major new ‘floodgate’ of ice into the ocean US inflames debate on climate finance with plan for UN talks
After its first full year of operations Inland NSW Tourism has announced a directional shift, transforming from a regional tourism organisation to a destination management organisation.Inland NSW Tourism chief executive officer Graham Perry said destination management requires a detailed consumer focus.“The foundation for this new approach is Inland NSW Tourism’s $100,000 consumer research program which will determine the propensity of consumers to travel to Inland NSW and their awareness and perceptions of each destination and the cross regional experiences.”This requirement for change has been supported by Inland NSW Tourism chairman Rodger Powell.“Destination Management will allow destinations to align with the needs of visitors,” Mr Powell said. “The outcome will not only inform marketing, but help identify product gaps and product development opportunities to allow regional NSW to thrive in a sustainable way.”Inland NSW Tourism currently manages 50 different co-operative marketing activities and product development programs. “With a combined value of more than $4.7 million, these programs are already delivering strong results,” Mr Perry said.“These campaigns are also starting to contribute to the regions’ overall growth in visitation expenditure.“Most notably, the New England North West area of Inland achieved an 18 percent increase in the year-on-year domestic overnight expenditure to March 2012, according to the National Visitor Survey conducted by Tourism Research Australia.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T.
The analysis was inconclusive, with the RAAF concluding that weather condition had hampered efforts to find the apparent remains of the plane, the ABC reported. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has received an expert analysis of RAAF satellite imagery apparently showing the wreckage of MH370 in water in the south-west Indian Ocean. “The objects are relatively indistinct on the imagery,” Mr Young said. “We don’t know what that satellite saw until we can get a much better, much closer look at it at it, but this is the first tangible break-through in what up until now has been an utterly baffling mystery,” Prime Minister Abbott said. ASMA spokesperson John Young said that the debris may not be related to the search for MH370. “I don’t profess to be an expert in assessing the imagery, but those who are expert indicate they are credible sightings.” A source close to the investigation told Reuters that the plane likely flew into the Indian Ocean because South East and North Asian countries have failed to trace MH370 entering their airspace. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also presumptively weighed into the debate about the images. Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
(L-R) Edie Rodriguez, Bruce Anderson, Sally MacMillanAlso at the podium will be Bruce Anderson. Anderson is a founding Principal of Starcrest Consulting Group in Seattle and has over 25 years of experience working on critical environmental issues for the cruise industry including major emissions reduction programs. He will speak on Starcrest’s work with port and maritime related air quality issues and development of Clean Air Plans. He has extensive background working in the US and internationally and consulted on White Bay Cruise Terminal for the Port Authority of NSW.Destination Development will be a key theme at this year’s event. Journalist, Sally MacMillan best known as the author of the “Cruise Director” section for Fairfax will draw on her extensive cruising experience to deliver an insightful look at what works and what doesn’t when passengers arrive in port.Additional plenary and group workshop sessions will explore a range of topics critical to the growth of the cruise industry including homeporting, infrastructure development, benchmarking and the regulatory landscape.The Conference is being sponsored by the Port Authority of NSW and Destination NSW. It will be held this year at the Four Seasons Hotel which was chosen in the main due to its close proximity to the Opera House and the Overseas Passenger Terminal where some of the hospitality sessions will take place.Australian Cruise Association CEO, Jill Abel said “On the back of an exciting time for the cruise industry, we are delighted to continue the momentum at this major event which will celebrate our members who play a key role in this multi-billion industry.”“We want to recognise the vital role our members play as the unsung heroes behind the scenes of this amazingly powerful industry. We will help them grow in this role by providing them with rich information and new insights from the speakers while also allowing them the opportunity to network with some of the major players on the global stage” continued Abel. Register hereSource = Australian Cruise Association Registration has opened, and an exciting line-up of initial speakers announced, for the 20th Australian Cruise Association conference to be held in Sydney from September 7-9, 2016.Themed “20 years – Our People, Our Passion, Our Success”, the Conference will celebrate the role of the Association’s members in the successful growth of the cruise industry in this region and will explore the exciting opportunities for growth over the next 20 years.Emceed by Andrew McEvoy, Managing Director of Life Media and Events at Fairfax and Non-Executive Director at Sealink, this year’s speaker line-up reflects the coming of age of the industry and the Association.Edie Rodriguez, President and CEO of Crystal Cruises will give the keynote address. Ms Rodriguez is the first CEO of an international cruise line to speak at an ACA conference. She will speak on the luxury cruising segment, a topic she is well qualified to discuss having worked previously with Azamara Club Cruises, the upmarket division of RCL and for the Cunard and Seabourn brands while at Carnival.Last year, Rodriguez unveiled the blueprint for a major brand expansion for Crystal Cruises which has been dubbed by the travel and hospitality industry as the largest expansion in history for any luxury brand.
(AP Photo/Matt York) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Notable– Our Craig Grialou said he saw Elijhaa Penny line up as a fullback during red zone work.– A couple of the team’s linebackers came up with interceptions, with Scooby Wright plucking a tipped throw and Tre’Von Johnson snagging a ball that was thrown right to him. Sorry, but couldn’t tell which QBs threw the wayward passes.– Sticking with Wright, there was some audible excitement from the Cardinals’ defensive sideline over his level of activity on the field.– Rookie receiver Chad Williams caught a Drew Stanton pass while falling down.– Justin Bethel had another good day, breaking up some passes while making quick tackles on completions he surrendered.– Budda Baker nearly came up with a strip-fumble and recovery after he ripped the ball away from TE Ifeanyi Momah, but much to the dismay of the team’s defensive players, Momah was ruled down on the play. Later in practice Momah was on the receiving end of a Stanton touchdown pass.– Speaking of Penny, on a run to the pylon, he knocked the helmet off cornerback Sojourn Shelton, who came up to try and make the tackle.Injury updateArians said LB Alani Fua and S Ironhead Gallon suffered knee injuries in Monday’s practice, adding they were awaiting MRI results to determine what will happen next. Elie Bouka (ankle) and Jumal Rolle (hamstring) remained out, with their absences expected to cost them each around two weeks. DL Ed Stinson was out with a hamstring issue, while new LB Tevin Floyd also did not practice Tuesday, though the reason for his absence is not yet known.$LB Deone Bucannon (PUP list) and LB Jarvis Jones (NFI) remained out, while WR Larry Fitzgerald, LB Karlos Dansby and DL Frostee Rucker were given the day off.Looking up to FitzThough a rookie, the third-round pick Williams is fairly outspoken and confident in interviews. The situation he finds himself in does not awe him.Apparently the same cannot be said for how he feels about one of his teammates. He said sharing the field with Larry Fitzgerald is “exceptional.”“A guy that I looked up to since I was little,” Williams said. “I could remember mimicking Larry. One time I went on a fishing trip with my dad, and we caught fish and I was trying to catch the fish with one hand like he did on Sport Science at one time.“That’s things I’ve never told him, but those are things I did when I was younger because he was the guy, that’s who I looked up to. Just being able to be on the field with someone like that, it’s amazing.” Williams had nothing but praise for Fitzgerald, who he says is an even better person than he is football player.“He probably has the best character of anyone I’ve ever met,” he said. “Great guy, outstanding; willing to help you learn, willing to do anything, like, he’ll do anything for you. That’s the kind of person he is.”Learning the offenseQB Blaine Gabbert is in his first training camp with the Cardinals, and said Tuesday things are going great. However, the more reps he gets in his new offense, the more comfortable he will be.“It really takes a lot of work at night, in the meeting room, just drawing up the plays, asking some questions and just watching the film to really diagnose things,” he said.For the most part, Gabbert has looked solid in practices. That’s not to say he has not had his rough moments, but he has had his share of positive plays, too.As for being ahead of schedule as his coach has proclaimed, well, that’s not something the former San Francisco 49er and Jacksonville Jaguar is ready to announce.“I’m not the one to judge that,” he said. “I just try and go out and put my best foot forward each and every day. I try and prepare hard the night before but the way you learn the system, the way you master the system is you make mistakes out on the practice field, you watch the film and then you get better the next day. GLENDALE, Ariz. — Tuesday morning, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians praised the majority of his team’s Monday practice, save for the receivers, whom he said had a miserable day with drops.A few more catchable passes hit the turf Tuesday afternoon, though we will have to wait until Thursday to get Arians’ opinion as the team has its first day off of camp scheduled for Wednesday.The Cardinals were in pads again Tuesday but not tackling — Arians said they will save that for next week — so the intensity remained at a pretty high level. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 2 Comments Share Top Stories “We’re in that process right now of getting those reps throughout training camp. If I’m better day 30 than I was day one, that will be a good camp.”Follow Adam Green on Twitter Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Cyprus is ready to send a team of firefighters to Portugal to help put out forest fires, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday.According to an announcement, in his message of condolence to Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio da Costa, Anastasiades conveyed his “great sadness” about the fires in central Portugal, that have already taken the lives of tens of people and continue to cause death and destruction.He also extended condolences, on behalf of the people and the government of Cyprus, tο the families, friends and loved ones of those killed, as well as wishes for quick recovery to those injured.“I also want to take this opportunity to commend the bravery shown by the firefighting teams trying, under extreme conditions, to contain the fires. Cyprus is ready to send to Portugal a team of firefighters, in coordination with the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism, to help the efforts to stop the raging fires,” the President concluded.The huge forest fire raging since Saturday in central Portugal has killed at least 62 people, the government said on Sunday, in what is possibly the deadliest-ever forest blaze in the Atlantic coastal country, used to the woods burning almost every summer.Another 54 people have been injured and taken to hospitals, including four in serious condition.The blaze on Saturday hit the mountainous area amid an intense heat wave and rainless thunderstorms. Police said a lightning striking a tree probably caused the fire.Hundreds of firefighters were still battling the flames on Sunday. Various local motorways were shut for safety reasons.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
09Jan Swearing In 2013 Categories: News State Rep.Ken Kurtz, at right, today took the ceremonial oath of office as state representative for the 58th House District.
Categories: Maturen News Plan includes money specifically for Calhoun and Kalamazoo countiesRep. David Maturen of Vicksburg today helped the state House approve more money for immediate road repairs across Michigan.The $175 million bill provides additional money for road preservation and construction as early as this summer, giving Michigan’s road repairs – including those in Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties – a much-needed boost.“There are very few things in Michigan that get people as agitated as the condition of our roads,” Maturen said. “Drivers are shredding tires and bending axles on potholes that grow daily. We obviously must do more to get our roads in better shape. This bill is a step in a right direction, using money that already is available to help address an urgent need.”In addition to state projects, the bill includes money for county, city and village roads throughout Michigan. Estimated local allocations include Calhoun County ($873,554), Kalamazoo County ($1.45 million), Galesburg ($13,781), Marshall ($53,799), Athens ($8,449), Augusta ($8,008), Burlington ($2,371), Climax ($6,360), Homer ($13,193), Richland ($5,071), Tekonsha ($8,815) and Vicksburg ($24,570) among others.The money is left over from a previous state government budget cycle and is already available, meaning no budget cuts or additional fees or taxes are required for the investment. The money included in the bill approved today comes in addition to previous changes that provide more funding for road and bridge projects across the state.House Bill 4321 advances to the Senate for further consideration.### 21Feb Rep. Maturen votes for plan to boost road repairs across Michigan
A bill proposed by state Rep. Beth Griffin of Mattawan streamlining broadband expansion work was approved today in a vote by the Michigan House.County road commissions hold jurisdiction in right-of-way instances and often require permits, inspections and project reviews due to the close proximity of other lines and mains beneath the ground. Right-of-way permit requirements vary widely from county to county, creating a time-consuming process for telecommunication and video service providers that serve large areas of the state. Griffin’s proposal caps fees that can be charged by commissions and will speed up projects while cutting government red tape.“There is an emphasis today on fast and reliable internet, and areas of Michigan that do not have reliable access to high-speed broadband are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to keeping and attracting jobs and residents,” said Griffin, who serves as vice-chair on the House Communications and Technology Committee. “I came to Lansing to cut the government red tape that has been holding our state back and these measures will help ensure that government is not in the way of broadband expansion efforts.”Providers will still be required to obtain permits to perform work in public right-of-ways. House Bill 5097 moves to the Senate for consideration. 28Feb Rep. Griffin bill works to accelerate broadband expansion efforts Categories: Griffin News,News
State Rep. Beth Griffin, of Mattawan, introduced a plan that would make the state’s PFAS action response team a permanent agency within state government. Griffin’s plan is part of a larger reform package addressing the safety and security of Michigan’s drinking water supply.“From day one we have worked swiftly to detect, contain and respond to PFAS contamination in Southwest Michigan and across the state,” said Griffin. “And because of the diligent interagency response by the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, the communities of Parchment and Hartford were able to get the answers they needed and transitioned to safe drinking water as quickly as possible. Investigation and detection is only the beginning, but it is an important first step in keeping families safe. With this plan, rapid detection and response will continue unhindered.”Griffin’s proposal specifically codifies the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) in law.In addition to Griffin’s plan, House Bill 4746, the bipartisan package includes House Bills 4742-4769. The 30-bill reform proposal looks at water quality across the board: from improving municipal safeguards and oversight to tightening up environmental protection and conservation.Griffin noted that ensuring safe drinking water became even more of a priority across the state following the detection of PFAS contamination at more than 1,100 sites—including two in Kalamazoo County and one in Van Buren County—and the discovery of lead service lines throughout the state’s public water systems.HB 4746 has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation for further consideration. 24Jun Rep. Griffin introduces proposal to bolster state’s PFAS response team Categories: Griffin News
Share54Tweet14Share6Email74 SharesBy Amy Guth from Chicago, IL, USA, USA – Chicago O’Hare, 1/28/17, CC BY 2.0, LinkMay 23, 2017; Moyers & companyNonprofits often step in to address the shortcomings of government and the private sector. Immigrant legal representation is one of these. In the U.S., immigrants, regardless of legal status, have no right to counsel in immigration proceedings. A “patchwork of underfunded nonprofits…and attorneys do their best to help immigrants in court,” but four weeks ago one of these, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, “a respected nonprofit in Seattle” received a “cease and desist” letter from the Department of Justice threatening disciplinary action if NWIRP did not close down its asylum advisory program.Last week, NWIRP fought back by filing a lawsuit against the DOJ order. A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order in the case, allowing NWIRP to continue its work for now. The temporary restraining order also stops the Justice Department from issuing similar “cease and desist” letters to similar organizations. But the DOJ “will soon come after other nonprofits.”A recent article on Moyers & company says, “The outcome of this legal battle will profoundly impact access to legal representation for the tens of thousands of immigrants who apply for asylum in the United States every year and the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants whose cases are currently in front of an immigration judge.”The DOJ accuses NWIRP of providing service to immigrants without committing to full representation. It is using a rule meant to protect people from scoundrel lawyers “who steal money from immigrants too vulnerable to report them.” Immigrants are allowed to secure free legal help “only if they find a lawyer who will commit up-front to a case that will stretch for years. Otherwise, they’re…required to submit complex legal documents with no assistance and lawyers who try to help them will be sanctioned.”NWIRP and its peers “have had longstanding agreements with immigration officials that permit them to run asylum-assistance programs without committing to permanent representation.”Being in the U.S without authorization is a civil violation and not a crime. The U.S. practice of providing public lawyers to people who cannot afford one only applies to people charged with a crime. There are a few thousand private immigration lawyers, but it isn’t enough even for those who can afford them. NWIRP and other similar nonprofits leverage law-school clinics and pro bono work from lawyers at large firms to do their work.NWIRP was at the forefront of resisting President Trump’s temporary travel ban. The DOJ is perverting a rule meant to protect immigrants to attack the airport lawyers who stood up to Trump. In Trump’s administration it appears that the role of an efficient government is to use tax dollars to attack nonprofit organizations that help some of the most vulnerable people.—Cyndi SuarezShare54Tweet14Share6Email74 Shares
Share137Tweet14Share2Email153 SharesBy Mike Licht [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsOctober 12, 2017; Washington PostThe always potentially sordid combination of politics and nonprofit charities has again reared its head in the case of Judge Roy Moore of Alabama, who is the GOP candidate for the Senate seat formerly occupied by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions.The charity at the center of the controversy is one established by Moore, the Foundation for Moral Law. The foundation’s stated purpose is to “restore the knowledge of God in law and government and to acknowledge and defend the truth that man is endowed with rights, not by our fellow man, but by God!” Its focus is on education of the public and participation in litigation.In recent articles, the Washington Post has revealed that Moore has benefited personally, financially, and politically from his relationship with the foundation, raising red flags about the foundation’s nonprofit status. The listing of the foundation’s historic headquarters building for sale served to further the controversy, as Moore stands to benefit substantially if the building is sold.What’s fueling this fire is not just the financial benefits to Moore—as well as to his wife and two of his children, who have also been on the charity’s payroll—but the political benefits he received via this platform. As president of the board from its founding until he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012, Moore served as its chief spokesperson and was able to establish himself as a conservative leader with a large evangelical base, that served him well when he moved into campaigning for elected office. While the legality of this is not the key question, it does make Moore’s monetary benefits and the foundation’s lack of transparency in reporting them seem more glaring.As reported in the Post,He collected more than $1 million as president from 2007 to 2012, compensation that far surpassed what the group disclosed in its public tax filings most of those years.When the charity couldn’t afford the full amount, Moore in 2012 was given a promissory note for back pay eventually worth $540,000 or an equal stake of the charity’s most valuable asset, a historic building in Montgomery, Ala., mortgage records show. He holds that note even now, a charity official said.While still president of the Foundation for Moral Law, Roy Moore established “Project Jeremiah” in order to reach out to ministers and preachers. At his suggestion, Moore was guaranteed an annual salary of $180,000 per year for this specific work. Those funds would come from his work on this project, and the foundation would make up the difference if he did not bring in that amount. If the foundation did not have funds to cover that difference annually, their debt to Moore would accumulate. Funds raised for Project Jeremiah were separately held, and Moore’s salary from this was not reported to the IRS in tax filings. This is a major area where questions are being raised.In February this year, the IRS concluded its audit of the charity’s 2013 finances, according to the documents provided to the Post. The IRS identified problems that it said could threaten the group’s tax-exempt status if not resolved.The IRS wrote that the charity “did not identify its special fundraising activities.” It also found that the group’s tax filings contained figures that “did not reflect those recorded on your books of account.” The document does not detail the activities or figures at issue.In recent weeks, the Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group in Washington, accused the charity of openly promoting Moore’s Senate campaign through a Facebook page titled “Foundation for Moral Law.” Charities are prohibited by law from supporting or opposing political candidates.In looking at the work of this foundation, its center has been and continues to be Judge Roy Moore. It has filed numerous legal briefs in cases involving conservative Christian issues. Since 2003, when Moore was ousted from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse, his popularity has grown. This aligned him with the goals of the foundation and made Moore the perfect leader/spokesperson. The Washington Post captured this, stating, “At a time when Moore was running for other public offices in Alabama, the charity kept him in the public eye and helped establish a nationwide network of donors while he took on controversial positions against same-sex marriage, Islam and the separation of church and state.”The anticipated benefits for Moore from the sale of the foundation’s headquarters building have added incentive to the efforts to look further into the foundation’s charitable status. Judge Roy Moore stands to gain over $500,000 if the building is sold. With his wife, Kayla Moore, now serving as president of the board, questions are being raised as to her role in moving forward to put the property on the market.With watchdog groups, the IRS, and the media giving this situation a great deal of attention, it adds intrigue to the hoopla around Moore’s senate campaign. As each side pushes back, there are multiple lessons and cautions for the nonprofit community. The consequences of commingling the personal goals of a charismatic leader with that of a charity may be the primary unresolved concern. Links between Moore’s political campaign and the charity are also being raised, as his campaign chair is the former executive director of the Foundation for Moral Law, and there are allegations of links between the charity’s website and that of Moore’s campaign.The importance of transparency in reporting to the IRS for all nonprofits cannot be underestimated. As the nation moves into “election mode,” much hangs in the balance for the nonprofit community. Maintaining a clear distinction between nonprofit charitable work and electioneering may need even higher priority in today’s partisan climate. Judge Roy Moore may be providing the charitable community with a model that needs attention and scrutiny in order to avoid being trapped between a moral vision, personal benefits, and the law.—Carole LevineCorrection: This article has been altered to reflect that the material attributed to the Chicago Tribune was actually material reprinted from the Washington Post.Share137Tweet14Share2Email153 Shares
The rate of consumption of over-the-top video on consumer electronics devices will increase rapidly over the next five years, according to new research.Currently, about 6% of OTT viewing is conducted on a connected CE device. That proportion will rise to 27% in 2016, according to IMS Research. It adds that by end-2016, 133 million TV homes will be accessing OTT services via their pay TV set-top.Companies effective in establishing partnerships with CE suppliers and increasing global usage of their apps on connected CE devices are quickly becoming leaders in the OTT market, IMS said. IMS analyst Anna Hunt said: “Netflix’s aggressive pursuit of increasing the geographic reach of its OTT service illustrates to the need for OTT service providers to expand their serviceable target market if they want to grow revenues.”
ITV has inked a £90 million (€109 million) TV soccer rights deal that allows it to continue broadcasting the England national teams home matches and games from the FA Cup competition.The UK commercial broadcaster already has those rights under a four-year deal, which it has now extended until 2014. UK reports suggest ITV paid 30% less per year than under the terms of the previous agreement, meaning an annual spend of about £45 million.
Media services company Red Bee has launched RedDiscover, a set of technologies brought together to provide an integrated TV guide incorporating a range of social networking and content discovery features.RedDiscover combines Red Bee Media’s established metadata build, sourcing and distribution services with search, recommendation and personalisation technologies, user interface design, companion apps and second screen experiences.Red Bee technology and innovation director Steve Plunkett told DTVE that RedDiscovery was an evolution of the company’s technology and metadata and its acquisition last year of TV Genius.“We have a metadata base with 1,200 channels’ TV listings in 23 languages across Europe,” said Plunkett. “It’s Europe’s biggest metadata base.” He said the database include information about eight million titles over the last 15 years.Plunkett said that the acquisition of TV Genius “gave us the intelligence and application logic that allows data to be represented on different kinds of devices in different ways”. He said that RedDiscover was focused on four key areas: recommendation, personalisation logic, EPG creation and companion apps. The platform can be used to create personalised EPGs that allow integration of images and video links as well as immediate access to social network-based commentary on shows.Red Bee’s first customers for the new platform are UK listing magazine Time Out and Veronica Publishing, the publishing arm of Dutch broadcaster SBS.The Time Out TV guide has been developed to harness the use of social media by consumers and will integrate traditional TV listings with social networks Facebook and Twitter, allowing users to engage with their friends and connections in real time. Users will be able to login, ‘like’ programmes and see what their friends ‘like’, share and recommend content and see what programmes are trending on Twitter, what’s being said about them and interact with the Twittersphere.Veronica Publishing, which owns Veronica magazine, the leading TV listings magazine in the Netherlands, is rolling out the new social TV guide nationwide via tablets and smartphones and will showcase functionality including: the ability to ‘check in’ via Facebook, ‘like’ programmes and see what friends ‘like’, with Twitter integration to see what programmes are trending in real time and allowing users to interact with connections, and the ability to search, share, rate and recommend content across Facebook and Twitter.
Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera has secured a further package of broadcast rights for France’s Ligue 1 football league between 2012 and 2016.The company fought off competition from French pay TV operator Canal Plus to win the package of six weekly matches that they will offer on a pay-per-view basis. It was also awarded the rights to a weekly magazine programme. In addition to the two matches per week package it had already acquired, the broadcaster will air a total of eight matches from France’s top football league each week.The latest deal with the Ligue de Football Professional makes Al Jazeera a prominent player in the French football rights market. It also holds international rights to Ligue 1 and the majority of French broadcast rights to the UEFA Champions League until 2015.
Lagardère has claimed top spot amongst mobile TV applications for its Télé 7 service.The Télé 7 mobile TV application had almost 1.7 million unique users and 11 million visits in June.Lagardère’s celebrity-focused Public service meanwhile counted 640,000 unique users and over 11 million visits in June.
Sony and FIFA have announced plans to produce three full matches from this summer’s football World Cup in Ultra HD, or 4K, in a move they said will help to accelerate the expansion of this technology. The international football federation said that it will use Sony’s 4K equipment and production processes to film one game from the final-16 team stage, one quarter final match and the July 13 final from the Estadio Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro.Sony and FIFA will also jointly produce the Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Film in 4K. This will include a selection of games, including the final, and be distributed online after the tournament is over.“We are very excited to offer an entirely new viewing experience at the greatest sport event in the world, the FIFA World World Cup,” said Soichi Kawachi, the Sony vice president in charge of the FIFA partnership.“By leveraging our cutting-edge 4K technology and our premier products and solutions through our partnership with FIFA, we will deliver a unique and totally compelling entertainment experience, conveying the excitement of the matches in Brazil with the depth and vividness that the ultra-high definition of 4K delivers.”FIFA Director of TV Niclas Ericson added: “We are excited by the prospect of working with Sony to incorporate 4K technology in our production plans. 4K will propel fans around the globe into a whole new viewing dimension and it marks the dawning of a new era in the broadcasting of sport.”
Tom SzkutakAmazon will continue investing in original content for its Prime Instant Video service after billing roughly US$100 million on originals in the third quarter, according to chief financial officer Tom Szkutak. Speaking on Amazon’s Q3 earnings call, Szkutak said that video was a key driver to convince customers on free Amazon Prime trials to sign up to the service –which also includes cut-price shipping on physical products.“We continue to invest heavily in video content, including originals. There is a number of different metrics we’re looking at from a Prime standpoint, but what we’re seeing so far are those customers who are streaming are renewing at considerably higher rates,” said Szkutak.“When those new prime members become prime members, the other thing we’re seeing is they’re buying physical product, which is a great impact for us,” he added.In its earnings, Amazon said that since the debut of its original 10-episode series Transparent in the US, UK and Germany, it is “the number one ranked TV series on Prime Instant Video,” with strong ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.Amazon will premiere all 10 episodes of the second season of its political comedy series Alpha House exclusively on Prime Instant Video starting this week, and said that two more original pilots – dramatic thriller Hand of God and coming-of-age comedy Red Oaks – will return for full seasons.Overall in the quarter, Amazon reported a 20% year-on-year increase in net sales to US$20.58 billion. However, its net loss was US$437 million compared to a net loss of $41 million in the third quarter of 2013.Amazon first announced in July that it was planning “significant growth” in its original content spend, increasing its investment in Prime Instant Video productions to more than US$100 million (€75 million) in Q3.