Chicago has a strong start to 2018 with record visitors

first_imgTags: Chicago, Trend Watch << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Source: The Associated Press Chicago has a strong start to 2018 with record visitors CHICAGO — Continuing last year’s record-setting growth, Chicago set new tourism records in the first months of 2018.Mayor Rahm Emanuel says hotel demand increased by 12.5 per cent in January and February alone. He attributes the bulk of the growth to the business sector. The city held more meetings and conventions in the first months of 2018 than it did during the same time period in previous years.The leisure sector also set records for this period.This comes on the heels of unprecedented tourism numbers in 2017, when an estimated 55 million people visited the city. The high number of visitors led to an 11.3 per cent increase in hotel revenue per room.Emanuel says tourism creates more jobs and “injects billions of dollars” into the local economy. Monday, March 26, 2018 last_img read more

OIJ arrests 3 doctors and pizzeria owner in organ trafficking sting in

first_imgEarlier this summer, Israeli customs agents alerted Costa Rica were alerted to suspicious travel by two Ticos. The interim attorney general did not expand on the connection with Israel, noting that the case was one of many. Jiménez said that the investigation currently focused domestically but if the evidence suggested that the ring had international reach they would pursue it. While OIJ said that there was no evidence yet suggesting that the management of the private clinics where some of the illicit surgeries took place were aware of the trafficking.In June, OIJ reported that some of the surgeries took place at the public Calderón Guardia Hospital and the private Clínica Bíblica hospital, both in San José.This story is developing. Follow updates at ticotimes.net. Facebook Comments Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) arrested three doctors this morning and the owner of a pizzeria in the latest phase of an investigation into organ trafficking in the Central American country.OIJ Director Francisco Segura estimated the number of victims at roughly 20, but said that the investigation was ongoing and encouraged others to come forward. The ring specialized in extracting and implanting kidneys. These are the latest arrests in a three-month investigation into the kidney trafficking network allegedly headed by Dr. Francisco José Mora Palma, arrested in June, who authorities said had been operating the illegal network since 2009. Thursday morning authorities arrested 48-year-old urologist Fabian Fonseca Guzmán; Massimiliano Anunzia Mauro Stamati, 41, urologist; Victor Hugo Monge Monge, 58, peripheral vascular doctor; and Dimosthenis Katsigiannis Karkasi, 55, owner of the Akropolis pizzeria. The ring used the pizzeria near the Calerdón Guardia Hospital to recruit their victims. “Donors” would meet with Karkasi who would take them to another nearby location where they would be put in touch with the surgeons and exchange money.Segura said that the arrests took place at the Calderón Guardia Hospital, in San José and another in Hacienda Pinilla, Santa Ana, Guanacaste. OIJ arrested Karkasi at his restaurant following the OIJ’s press conference Thursday morning.Authorities also raided homes and offices for evidence, including documents and electronic equipment.Acting Attorney General Carlos María said that those arrested played various roles in the ring, from its mastermind to recruiters to those “who bloodied their hands,” the surgeons. The acting attorney general described the victims as people in dire straights or those with little economic means, but not necessarily indigent. He added that the victims identified so far came from various locations across Costa Rica.Reportedly, “donors” were paid between $6,000 and $20,000 for a kidney. Jiménez said that the organs were likely sold for between $80,000 and $100,000 each. Selling an organ is illegal in Costa Rica. Living organ donations are legal but only without monetary or other compensation or under duress. Jiménez said that the traffic of persons for the purpose of organ harvesting is punishable in Costa Rica with six to 10 years in prison under Article 172 of the Penal Code.The investigation into the nationalities of those who received the organs is ongoing, according to law enforcement.The OIJ director added that they would pursue recipients of the organs only if the practice of purchasing an organ was legal in their country of origin and they were brought to Costa Rica to receive the illicit transplant under false pretenses. Calderón Guardia hospital in San José served as the scene of numerous illegal kidney operations for pay since 2009, according to the OIJ. Dr. Francisco José Mora Palma, arrested in June 2013, allegedly masterminded the black market organ trade. Alberto Font No related posts.last_img read more

The Next Big Wave – Jetwing Surf Pottuvil Point

first_imgThe Next Big Wave – Jetwing Surf, Pottuvil PointSetting a benchmark in eco-tourism and hospitality, Jetwing Hotels introduces the award winning eco-luxury surf resort, Jetwing Surf in Pottuvil Point. Built on minimum carbon footprint this Jetwing Symphony invested property recently received the award for the Best Hotel Architectural Design at the Asia Property Awards 2017.A luxury resort dedicated for surfers, Jetwing Surf is located on an unspoilt stretch of beach in Pottuvil Point with magnificent waves gushing onto shore. Only a few minutes away from the surfer’s paradise of Arugam Bay, this property includes 20 beach cabanas that encompasses comfortable amenities inspired by a unique style of architecture with structures made using wood, woven coconut palm leaves and reeds. To heighten the experience by the beach the design elements take the form of seashells allowing guests to wander freely and fully submerge in the tropical environs.Each of the cabanas has a spacious outdoor deck that opens out to the towering coconut trees and gleaming view of the Indian Ocean in between. Equipped with ceiling fans to complement the sea breeze that circles within the premises, each of the rooms has a bathroom with hot and cold indoor and outdoor showers that allows you to feel closer to nature. With plush king-sized beds and couches, Wi-Fi, electronic power, tea/coffee making facility and even a beach bag with sun block, slippers and wraparounds, Jetwing Surf becomes your luxurious abode by the sea.Your meals at Jetwing Surf can be savoured at the breezy comforts of our main restaurant set under a thatched roof. The chef here will take you through a world of global favourites and local specialities through our carefully curated à la carte and set menus. The restaurant also houses a bar to serve you with refreshing thirst quenches and also a pool bar for you to laze around while sipping on delicious mocktails and cocktails. Capture picture perfect moments of the coastal line as you take a refreshing dip on our infinity edge pool complete with lily pods bringing out a unique design and style. The electric waves raging on to the shores at Arugam Bay, Pottuvil Point and Whisky Point are a must-catch for surf lovers and are a short distance away from Jetwing Surf.A lesser known fact is that the unexplored East is a haven of natural wonders, wildlife, and historical sites that can tick off many a travel bucket lists. The picturesque lakes will leave you in awe as you settle by the banks watching over the migrant birds flying in and out of the waters taking the colours of the pastel skies. The majestic sunsets by the Panama Lake, Semanikulam Lake and Rotakulam Lake coupled with the sounds of birds chirping is a thing of beauty to wind down into. For the history enthusiasts the Sastrawela Maninaga Pabbatha Viharaya, Kudumbigala Monastery, Muhudu Maha Viharaya, and Magul Maha Viharaya are significant archaeological sites encompassed with remnants of the glories tales of history. Deemed as one of the best places to spot the leopard and sloth bear in undisturbed territory is the Kumana National Park, which is also home to the largest flock of migrant birds. The Lahugala and Gal Oya National Parks are also in the vicinity and is home to an abundance of flora and fauna. The resident naturalist at Jetwing Surf, Azick, will make sure to take you on an inspiring journey in the East through these experiences!To book your stay at Jetwing Surf log on to www.jetwinghotels.com or call on 011 4 709 400.Family owned and in the tourism industry for the past 45 years, Jetwing Hotels has surpassed expectation at every aspect. Building on their foundation of being passionate, as well as the experience of true, traditional Sri Lankan hospitality, constantly pioneering discoveries captures the essence of the brand. Such a strong statement and direction have enabled Jetwing Hotels to imagine, create and manage marvels and masterpieces, where distinctive design and elegant comfort complement each other and the environment. In line with the Jetwing Hotels Sustainable Strategy, across all properties sustainable and responsible practices are given precedence with resource efficiency, community upliftment and education, and awareness being some of our key focus areas.Source = Jetwing Hotelslast_img read more

FILE In this Jan 11 2018 file photo Chris Har

first_img FILE – In this Jan. 11, 2018 file photo, Chris Hardwick arrives at the 23rd annual Critics’ Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. Hardwick’s career is getting back on track after a review of sexual assault allegations made by a former girlfriend. NBC said that Hardwick will serve as a guest host next Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, on “America’s Got Talent” and will return as host for season three of “The Wall” game show. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File) Hardwick will resume NBC roles after assault claim review LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Chris Hardwick’s career is getting back on track after a review of sexual assault allegations made by a former girlfriend.NBC said that Hardwick will serve as a guest host next Tuesday on “America’s Got Talent” and will return as host for season three of “The Wall” game show. Production on “The Wall” is set to begin in the fall.NBC’s confirmation Tuesday that Hardwick was keeping the gigs came a week after AMC said he would be back with “Talking Dead” and “Talking with Chris Hardwick” following the review.In announcing its decision, AMC said it was the “appropriate step” after interviewing a number of people in connection with the allegations against Hardwick.He is scheduled to resume work on “Talking Dead,” companion to drama series “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” on Aug. 12, the date that the latter show returns for the second half of its fourth season. Yvette Nicole Brown had been named interim host during the review.Hardwick has acknowledged that an online post by his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra alleging she had been sexually assaulted and emotionally abused referred to him. He has denied the allegations but has said the couple’s three-year relationship was imperfect and included arguments.center_img by The Associated Press Posted Jul 31, 2018 11:34 pm PDT Last Updated Aug 1, 2018 at 5:21 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emaillast_img read more

Kesto and McCready sponsoring April 22 autism awareness town hall

first_img16Apr Kesto and McCready sponsoring April 22 autism awareness town hall State Reps. Klint Kesto and Mike McCready are hosting a town hall meeting to raise awareness of autism and the coverage that residents may be eligible for under a 2012 law.The meeting will take place on Monday, April 22 at the West Bloomfield Public Library, located at 4600 Walnut Lake Road, beginning at 7 p.m.“Last year’s new autism coverage law opened up a lot of new options for Michigan families dealing with autism,” said Kesto, R-Commerce Township. “I encourage everyone to attend and find out what resources and assistance is available to them.”Attendees will hear presentations about the signs and symptoms of autism, treatment options and details of the 2012 law and its coverage options for Michigan families.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50,000 Michigan residents are living with autism.“Autism is so prevalent in our state making it important to raise awareness about the disorder and its treatment options,” said McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills. “This event will have experts on this issue who can answer questions and teach us about autism and how to help those who are suffering from it.”Residents with questions can contact Rep. Kesto at (517) 373-51799 or KlintKesto@house.mi.gov and Rep. McCready at (517) 373-8670 or MikeMcCready@house.mi.gov.##### Categories: Kesto News,McCready News,Newslast_img read more

Rep Chatfield cosponsors bill criminalizing dismemberment abortion practices

first_img25Aug Rep. Chatfield co-sponsors bill criminalizing dismemberment abortion practices Categories: Chatfield News State Rep. Lee Chatfield is co-sponsoring legislation that would ban and criminalize the practice of dismemberment abortion.“In the wake of the recent revelations of dismemberment abortions taking place across the country, it’s time for Michigan to take a stand,” said Rep. Chatfield, R-Levering. “Harvesting body parts from unborn children is not only disturbing and inhumane, but it serves no medical purpose, and shouldn’t be tolerated.”The two-bill package includes House Bills 4833 and 4834. HB 4833 defines and adds dismemberment abortion to the Michigan penal code, making it a criminal offense to perform the procedure. HB 4834 adds dismemberment abortion to the Michigan code of criminal procedure adjacent to partial-birth abortion, creating a maximum two-year prison sentence for those who perform the operation.“This legislation will not only serve to protect our precious unborn citizens, but help pave the way for other states to do the same,” Rep. Chatfield said. “By putting a stop to dismemberment abortions in our great state, we will set an example for the rest of the country; Michigan does not stand for and will not tolerate these ghastly and depraved practices.”HBs 4833 and 4834 have been referred to the House Committee on Criminal Justice for further consideration.last_img read more

Rep Tedder Mayor Percival listen to governors State of the State

first_img17Jan Rep. Tedder, Mayor Percival listen to governor’s State of the State Categories: Tedder News,Tedder Photos State Rep. Jim Tedder, R-Clarkston, attended the governor’s state of the state address today along with his guests, Mayor Steven Percival (left) and his wife Debbie Percival (center).###Rep. Tedder represents part of Oakland County including part of Waterford Township, the city of Lake Angelus, the village of Clarkston city and Independence Township. His office can be contacted at 517-373-0615  or JimTedder@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

Rep Alexander invites residents to October office hours

first_img State Rep. Julie Alexander of Hanover has scheduled more local office hours for the month of October.“I believe in remaining accountable and accessible,” Alexander said.  “That is why I host local office hours every month. I welcome the opportunity to listen to you, our friends and neighbors.”Rep. Alexander will hold office hours at the Jackson County Tower Building, 120 W. Michigan Ave. in Jackson, at the following dates and times:Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.Monday, Oct. 15 from 5 to 6 p.m.Monday, Oct. 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those who are unable to attend, but would still like to speak with the representative, may contact her Lansing office at (517) 373-1795 or JulieAlexander@house.mi.gov.### 08Oct Rep. Alexander invites residents to October office hours Categories: Alexander News,Newslast_img read more

Were New Proposed IRS Nonprofit Regulations Prepared in Secret

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares February 5, 2014; Accounting TodayU.S. House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) sent an official letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen requesting copies of all documents pertaining to the proposed changes in regulations affecting 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. In the letter, the IRS Commissioner has until February 13 to reply to the request and provide the documents.Statements from Treasury officials indicated that the proposed 501(c)(4) regulations were drafted in 2013 in response to the “confusion” surrounding the issues of nonprofit political activity and applications for tax exemption by some conservative groups. However, Rep. Camp cited an email from a Treasury employee, Ruth Madrigal, to former IRS Exempt Organizations (EO) Director Lois Lerner and others as evidence that the proposed regulations were planned much earlier and possibly in secret.In the June 2012 email, Madrigal says, “Don’t know who in your organizations is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off-plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting….” The term “off-plan” appears to refer to work performed by Treasury but not included in the agency’s official, publicly available list of priorities. Camp cites the email as evidence that there were plans to change 501(c)(4) regulations for the first time since 1959 as part of an attempt by the government to limit legitimate activities by groups with which the Obama administration disagreed. Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee say that the Madrigal email is nothing new and is being used by Republicans to renew interest in a nonexistent scandal.The proposed regulations were issued by the IRS late in November of 2013 and included a 90-day comment period. According to Koskinen, the IRS has received “an unprecedented number of public comments” thus far (almost 21,000, according to the Federal Register website). Due in part to the large number of public comments to be reviewed, Koskinen believes the regulations “will not be finalized anytime soon,” according to the article in Accounting Today.—Michael WylandShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Serious Student Activism Pros and Cons of the BDS Divestment Debate at

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares May 17, 2014; Jewish Daily ForwardFor everyone who suggests that the divestment decisions of individual universities don’t matter, this controversy at UCLA concerning whether to divest from companies doing business in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is evidence to the contrary.Decades ago, Nelson Mandela credited the decision of the California state higher education system with playing a critically important role in overturning South African apartheid. If UCLA were to divest from Israeli goods related to West Bank production facilities, it would be an important victory for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement—symbolically as much as anything else. For the other side, defeating UCLA’s potential joining of the BDS effort would put an activist university on the side of rejecting the BDS strategy.The UCLA issue doesn’t even rise to the level of an official university decision. In this instance, the controversy involved whether the student government would even recommend divestment. According to the Jewish Daily Forward, the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine filed a complaint saying that two students on the Undergraduate Students Association Council had taken free trips to Israel, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League in one instance and the American Jewish Committee on the other. Both students involved were not Jewish. Students for Justice complained that the students should have disclosed their free trips and abstained before the vote and further proposed that candidates for the Council pledge not to accept free trips to Israel sponsored by the ADL, the AJC, or the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.Prior to the complaint, the divestment decision failed to win the Council’s support, losing seven to five. Since the complaint, students on two of the three major slates for election to the Council, including the student eventually elected as student council president, agreed to the pledge to reject free trips.The free trips pose an interesting challenge to students whose positions and decisions on big policy issues clearly aren’t considered inconsequential to activists on either side. For the supporters of the BDS campaign, the free trips for student council members who would eventually vote on divestment represent a conflict of interest that should have been disclosed. For the opponents of BDS, the campaign to get student leaders to renounce free trips to Israel by groups like AIPAC is an effort to “stigmatize those taking trips to Israel sponsored by Jewish organizations.” As Jonathan Tobin wrote in Commentary, “the BDSers have decided that any vote cast by someone who had actually been to the Jewish state must be tainted by filing complaints with a student judicial board…since the most potent threat to support for BDS is knowledge of what kind of country Israel is and the challenges it faces.” To Tobin and others, the ethics of accepting free trips to Israel is a “bogus” issue.  Students in the University of California system appear to be sharply divided on divestment. The U.C. Davis student senate just recently rejected a divestment resolution following a similar decision at U.C. Santa Barbara, while U.C. San Diego and U.C. Riverside student councils voted in favor of divestment.Like other divestment campaigns, the BDS campaign against companies that do business on the West Bank is unlikely to bring any significant financial distress to the companies that were named in the U.C. Davis resolution: the U.S.-based Caterpillar for providing earth moving equipment that Palestinians say is being used to remove Palestinian homes; G4S, which provides technological equipment used by Israeli military forces at checkpoints; and the French firm Veolia Environnement, which purportedly uses subsidiaries to move waste from Israel into the occupied territories. Like most divestment campaigns, the target is symbolic and political rather than financial.Contrary to some inaccurate descriptions, the BDS strategy does not target all Israeli-made or -connected products because, as Kenneth Stern and Michael Berenbaum write in the Jewish Journal, a broader campaign would pit the BDS movement against corporations such as Microsoft, Intel, Google, and Apple, which all have operations or affiliates in Israel proper. Stern and Berenbaum, suggesting pro-Israel, anti-BDS strategies, note that limiting the divestment targeting to companies with operations in the West Bank rather than expanding to all of Israel is “a smart move by BDS proponents…[because] many Americans (and, indeed, many Israelis) do not feel comfortable supporting the occupation.”Why are university students so crucially involved, pro and con, in the divestment issue? Two students, Becca Caspar-Johnson and Maya Berkman from Wesleyan University, whose student assembly passed a divestment resolution, wrote an interesting explanation.“Whether we agree with it or not, the passage of divestment at Wesleyan can be seen as a bellwether for student activism in the absence of diplomatic progress,” said Caspar-Johnson and Berkman, who are members of J Street U, a network committed to pursuing a two-state solution that believes that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve self-determination, freedom, and security. “The movement towards BDS is emblematic of what happens on many campuses when students no longer see a serious commitment from our communities and our elected officials to end the conflict.”Their analysis resonates with the activism of university students on other issues of broken policy-making in modern U.S. history, going back to student protests against the Vietnam War. Remember how much of the Vietnam era student efforts promoted education for a more informed electorate capable of moving the U.S. government toward reasonable, necessary policies to bring that war to an end? The two Wesleyan undergrads write:“The question remains: what is our role—as students, as Americans, and as activists—to resolve the conflict and end the occupation? …[The result of the divestment debates] must lead to even sharper and more focused efforts as Americans to change our own political dynamics.”That is the kind of sentiment and perspective that explains the importance and seriousness of student activism, and why issues of ethics and accountability are legitimate parts of the picture of student debates and decision-making around divestment, whether fossil fuels or companies connected to the West Bank occupation.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Monitoring Sarcasm on Social Media and Other Bright Ideas

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 3, 2014; Washington PostNPQ thinks the idea of the Secret Service wanting to contract for software that can detect sarcasm online is just wonderful! And we look forward to the other additional monitoring devices—maybe an electric shock kind of thing for passive-aggressive behavior! The Secret Service thinks that getting a robot to detect whether or not someone is serious about threatening death and destruction would save a lot of time and effort. The problem is that every time one of these scanning for miscreants ideas comes up, instead of being terrified for our privacy rights, we yawn and turn on the TV or mess around with Facebook, or use a card that provides us with a small discount in return for tracking our buying habits to buy a vat of ice cream or fifth of bourbon to buffer the pain of being so terribly exposed.And then that same government wants the American people to get behind them about Edward Snowden’s invasion of their secrets? Here’s the thing: When the government insists upon and enforces its own privacy prerogatives and we as citizens and residents do not, we are headed into a very troublesome valley where the playing field will have been inexorably changed and the winners will not be ordinary citizens—never mind the activists who may not agree with the government on every detail of its doings. Wait! Didn’t our founders anticipate this?I’m sorry, am I being sarcastic?—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Look for the Rise of Job Lock under ACA Repeal and Replace

first_imgShare55Tweet15Share30Email100 SharesBy M.O. Stevens (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 7, 2017; New York TimesThere are a whole host of reasons why the Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement needs to be vetted carefully, but its impact on the job market may actually get the attention of ACA naysayers. Health reform helped combat “job lock,” a term that’s not necessarily commonplace but describes a situation that will likely seem familiar.Job lock occurs when people who might otherwise wish to start their own businesses, switch jobs, go part-time, or retire are prevented from doing so because they will lose health insurance coverage. In fact, in a pre-ACA survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a quarter of the employees surveyed indicated that health insurance was “the reason they or an immediate family member passed up an opportunity to change jobs or retire.”With ACA subsidies, health insurance is largely affordable by low- to median-income individuals or those with decreased income. For instance, federal subsidies ensure policies cost less than 10 percent of an individual’s income. Other subsidies limit the cost of deductibles and co-pays. Close to 7 million individuals who do not qualify for subsidies are still able to purchase affordable insurance plans.In a report by the Urban Institute, researchers postulated that, “Because health reform will allow for considerably more flexibility, the movement from job to job will make the labor market more efficient and will increase economic productivity.” With flexible coverage, the result is more productive workers who progressively move within the job market and exit when they are no longer able or willing to be productive. For some, this means early retirement; for others, it means the ability to not work and focus on healing in the face of illnesses such as cancer.Post-ACA surveys indicate that these presumed impacts on the job market are in fact accurate. In a 2015 survey by Thumbtack of 5,400 small business owners, over 30 percent of respondents indicated that they were able to launch their businesses because of access to healthcare afforded to them by the ACA. Further, information from the Center of Economic and Policy Research indicates that voluntary part-time employment is up 10 percent since pre-ACA times.On Monday, the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees revealed their proposal, which essentially replaces ACA subsidies with tax credits. These tax credits, however, are based on age as well as income level, so that older Americans receive more subsidies but also carry much of the financial burden. This has further implications on job lock, as older Americans facing high healthcare costs would likely need to continue working longer and put off retirement. Repealing the individual mandate, which the GOP has vowed to do, can also contribute to job lock. With fewer people enrolled in individual plans, the market will shift to offer fewer options and higher costs. Some estimates put this increase at eight percent. With higher premiums, individuals may be better off working full time at a company that offers employee benefits. Thus, we’d likely see a return to pre-ACA times in terms of entrepreneurship, early retirement, and voluntary part-time employment.—Sheela NimishakaviShare55Tweet15Share30Email100 Shareslast_img read more

HBCUs Visit the White House The Dangers of Assuming Exceptions Will Be

first_imgShare11TweetShare6Email17 Shares“Donald Trump, Official Portrait” [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 4, 2017; New YorkerWe can recall any number of situations over the last half-century in which individual nonprofits and even whole fields have successfully sought favor from some of the most hostile of administrations by providing a sort of “cover.” But this administration may prove different in yet another way: This president may not believe that a photo op with a group of highly committed and respected advocates pledges him to anything in particular—and the advocates may still be in the process of learning that.Jelani Cobb’s article for the New Yorker last week on the meeting between the heads of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) and President Trump is hard to read. In it, he portrays an excruciatingly difficult scene in which, he hazards, this group of highly respected academics is treated as window dressing.The hazard of engaging a grandiosity addict is that you will likely be reduced to furniture in the scene. This should have been understood as early as November, when the pageant of visitors began streaming into Trump properties to meet the President-elect—blond Kanye, the millionaire turned supplicant Mitt Romney. We had cause to recall that lesson on Monday, as President Trump held an Oval Office meeting with the presidents of historically black colleges and universities. In photos, the blond man seated at the Resolute Desk is smiling; the sixty-four black men and women surrounding him look like human décor.But, Cobb acknowledges, it was something that had to be done to pursue the possibility of an executive order that—they hoped—would ensure more resources. At the end of last year, many of these same college presidents attended a meeting of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education where Omarosa Manigault, now a communications director for the White House, promised to press for additional funding and something of an inside-track for HBCUs who wanted the initiative to support them to be brought directly into the White House.But when Trump issued his HBCU executive order on February 28th, there were no substantive changes.Morehouse College’s President John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., released a statement saying that “there was advance talk of changes like an aspirational goal of 5 to 10 percent for federal agency funding to HBCUs, a special HBCU innovation fund, large boosts in Pell Grant and Title III funding, and extra tax breaks for those in the private sector who contribute to HBCUs. But, instead of the long-awaited executive order containing or signaling any of those outcomes, the key change is a symbolic shift of the White House HBCU Initiative from the Department of Education to the White House. It is not possible to measure the impact of this gesture anytime soon, if ever.”Beyond the sheer potential uselessness of such efforts at this point, there are risks involved in appearing willing to collaborate with an administration that may otherwise be acting against the people who you serve and the principles you hold. Pablo Eisenberg, a well-respected commentator on philanthropy, recently challenged Independent Sector on that issue when it sent a letter to the president asking for a meeting. In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, he wrote, “Both the tone and content of the letter were insulting to a large majority of organizations and the people Independent Sector seeks to represent.”It even used President Trump’s words in stating that nonprofits can help the administration “make America great again.” And it talks about assisting the president in “strengthening and uniting this great nation,” when in fact the administration has quickly demonstrated its intent to divide the country in its policies toward Muslims, refugees, and immigrants.When I asked Dan Cardinali, president of Independent Sector, why the letter had not mentioned some of the serious concerns of nonprofit leaders, he said the letter was designed to open a conversation about joint efforts that charities, foundations, and the White House could take to unify and heal divisions in American society. It was meant to open the door to such an exchange of views, not to provoke tensions between nonprofits and the administration.But Eisenberg says that glossing over major disagreements with the administration in order to get a meeting is the wrong end of the stick to grab. He concludes, “What nonprofits need today is a heavy dose of honesty and courage. Independent Sector should be in the forefront of making certain that President Trump and his administration hear the unvarnished truth, that they clearly understand that nonprofits will fight to uphold America’s democratic institutions and processes.”—Ruth McCambridgeShare11TweetShare6Email17 Shareslast_img read more

Denver Nonprofit Food Recovery System Cuts Food Waste

first_imgShare354Tweet18Share1Email373 Shares“Nutritious ingredients,” DC Central KitchenJanuary 2, 2018; Denverite“A 2017 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says Americans throw out 400 pounds of food per person per year,” notes Kevin Beaty in Denverite—an amount, Beaty adds, equal to roughly 40 percent of all available food in the country. This throwing away of food takes place even though an estimated 41.2 million Americans are, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), food insecure, which the USDA defines as being uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet one’s nutritional needs.Fortunately, efforts to reduce food waste are growing across the country. NRDC itself notes that an initial report it released in 2012 helped lead the USDA in 2015 to declare a goal to reduce food waste in half by 2030. More broadly, a range of innovative nonprofit efforts have expanded. NRDC acknowledges that the data are spotty, but contends that “much progress has occurred.” In Denver, Beaty’s profile of We Don’t Waste tells one such story. Indeed, NRDC itself has profiled Denver and observes that Denver “is fortunate to have a fairly extensive food rescue system.”Denver, Beaty notes, presently salvages up to 70 percent of all grocery waste. Beaty adds that Denver fills “a greater portion of [its] hunger needs with waste than New York City or Nashville and [its] “meal gap” is overall smaller than those two cities.”We Don’t Waste was founded by Arlan Preblud, a former attorney, in 2009. “He started We Don’t Waste in his Volvo,” Beaty writes. “If you had a loaf of bread, I was willing to take that,” Preblud says. “I didn’t know how it was going to work.”Today, the nonprofit operates a small fleet of trucks. Beaty notes that according to We Don’t Waste’s 2016 annual report, distribution has increased from rescuing $2 million worth of food in 2014 to rescuing almost $33 million worth of food in 2016.Most food waste involves what gets thrown out at home, but, Beaty points out, “about a tenth of food losses come from commercial distribution, usually prepackaged in bulk and ready to eat.” This is the market niche where We Don’t Waste works.In particular, We Don’t Waste, according to its annual report, “focuses on perishable food items such as fresh produce, lean proteins, dairy products and pre-prepared food.” Beaty notes that a typical food distributor might have to reject 10 percent of what comes into the distribution center. Beaty explains that, “Produce can be ugly. Yellow peppers can look a little too green, tomatoes can have slight bruising, squash might be a little too big or a little too small. While beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, commercial grocery stores have objective specifications all their products must meet.” We Don’t Waste, however, can claim these “seconds,” which would otherwise be thrown out, and redistribute the healthy (if blemished) food to those who need it. The nonprofit claims that its cost to distribute a meal in 2016 was six cents per meal. The nonprofit provided Denver residents with over eight million meals that year.Building a food recovery system, however, requires the efforts of many parties. Collecting food is not enough. Tim Sanford, director of operations at We Don’t Waste, says the group could potentially fill twice as many trucks, but collecting more food is not helpful unless there is a network robust enough to distribute the increased supply. “The underlying problem is not recovery,” says Sanford. Rather, reports Beaty, the current constraint in Denver is “the ability of food pantries or shelters to accept it fast enough.”“Nationally,” Beaty writes, “grocery stores are also getting on board” with reducing food waste. Beaty adds that, “there are a slew of pilot projects from Walmart to Whole Foods that have tried to sell ugly vegetables.” But many of these are tentative trials, Beaty observes. A challenge that remains, remarks Beaty, is that “Some buyers just want the cream of the crop.” Sanford concurs that customers often expect “perfect, perfect food.”Given this market reality, the efforts of We Don’t Waste and its partners, Beaty contends, make a critical difference. “If we’re going to be so picky about what we buy,” Beaty concludes, “at least we have ways to get that would-be waste into the hands of someone who can use it.”—Steve DubbShare354Tweet18Share1Email373 Shareslast_img read more

Settop manufacturer Topfield has teamed up with b

first_imgSet-top manufacturer Topfield has teamed up with browser software company Opera Software to develop an HbbTV platform.Topfield will implement the Opera Devices Software Development Kit (SDK), which provides support for web content such as HTML5 video and audio elements, HTTP adaptive streaming, OpenGL 3D graphics and the CE-HTML video element for HbbTV.The new Topfield hybrid set-top boxes with Opera browser technology inside will be available in the second half of 2012.last_img

Content security specialist Conax has unveiled new

first_imgContent security specialist Conax has unveiled new branding at IBC in Amsterdam as CEO Morten Solbakken said the company continued to evolve with the industry.Solbakken said, “Conax has been gearing up for taking a new role in the industry. With a revitalized organisation in place, a highly forward-thinking partnering approach, new future-driven solutions and a well-established customer portfolio in over 80 countries, Conax is well-positioned with a leading role in within the evolving media landscape. The industry is changing, and Conax is changing with it. Our aim is to further strengthen our position and grow at an even faster pace through an increased portfolio of world-class security solutions.”The company plans to focus on developing solutions to help operators launch OTT services and advanced content distribution. It pointed out that only 30-40% of TV homes take digital services, which meant there was plenty of business within new digital TV markets.Earlier this week, Conax announced its cooperation with Finnish operator DNA for a multiscreen pilot. Conax launched the Conax Xtend Multiscreen pre-integrated solution with Cubiware, MPS Broadband in June. Conax also announced the launch of an integrated CI Plus Module with SMIT, bundling a CI Plus Module and smart card chip into a single, integrated and pre-paired solution.last_img read more

Discovery Networks International DNI is preparin

first_imgDiscovery Networks International (DNI) is preparing to launch various second screen applications for its channel brands.The broadcaster has signed a deal with Brightcove to use the online video specialist’s App Cloud platform to develop and manage dual screen catch-up TV services. The first service will be developed for DNI’s Italian free-to-air channel DMAX, with an app that enables viewers to find and stream various programming, including Dirty Jobs, LA Ink and Miami Ink using iPads or iPhones to Apple TV-connected TVs. Once the selected programme begins playing on the TV, viewers will be able to access additional content such as actor bios and recaps on their iPad or iPhone. The companion devices will also act as a remote control, enabling users to pause, play, fast-forward and rewind content on the TV.“Discovery Networks International is pleased to build upon our long-standing commitment to innovation in programming and technology by providing our dedicated viewing audience with richer, more contextual opportunities to interact with our content,” said David Schafer, vice-president, international digital media at Discovery Communications. “We are delighted to be working with Brightcove on our first app with DMAX Italy and in the future as we roll out into additional markets.”last_img read more

Orange had 57 million TV subscribers across Europ

first_imgOrange had 5.7 million TV subscribers across Europe at the end of September, up 17.5% year-on-year, with most of the growth coming from France and Poland. The TV figure included both IPTV and satellite homes.Orange had a total of 14.8 million fixed broadband subscribers at the end of the third quarter, up 4.1% year-on-year.In France, Orange’s digital TV base grew by 18.4% to 4.882 million, while its fixed broadband base grew by 3.7% to 9.827 million, including 144,000 fibre-to-the-home customers.In Poland, TV subscribers grew by 12.9% year-on-year to 695,000, while fixed broadband customers rose by 0.2% to 2.338 million.Overall, Orange said it expected a more difficult environment in 2013 than it had initially expected thanks to poor macroeconomic conditions, competition in the French mobile market and continued regulatory pressure. Operating cash flow for the next year is expected to be in the range of €7 billion, with a return to OCF growth forecast for 2014.last_img read more

Some 61 of US adults who stream TV shows from the

first_imgSome 61% of US adults who stream TV shows from the web admitted they “binge watch regularly,” viewing two to three episodes of a show in one sitting every few weeks, according to a recent survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of Netflix.The study, which looked at the viewing habits of nearly 1,500 TV streamers, found that 73% have “positive feelings towards binge streaming TV,” while 76% claimed that watching multiple episodes of a great TV show “is a welcome refuge from their busy lives.”Of those polled, 76% said that streaming TV shows to their own schedule was “their preferred way” of watching programmes.“Our viewing data shows that the majority of streamers would actually prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix.“Netflix has pioneered audience choice in programming and has helped free consumers from the limitations of linear television. Our own original series are created for multi-episodic viewing, lining up the content with new norms of viewer control for the first time.”last_img read more