TAT extends its thanks for the confidence in ThailandTAT extends its thanks for the confidence in Thailand Source = Tourism Authority of Thailand Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Governor, Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn has extended a warm word of thanks and gratitude to the thousands of tourists who maintained their confidence in visiting Thailand in the aftermath of the 11-12 August incidents in the Southern parts of the country.He also thanked the entire Thai private sector for their show of unity in the face of adversity. “We would like to thank everyone in the tourism sector who is contributed to the revival of Thailand’s tourism. This includes the tourists world-wide who still keep coming to our destinations as well as both the private and governmental sectors who have unitedly given their hands in restoring the situation back to normal in a short time.”Visitor arrival statistics in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in various parts of Thailand indicated just a small percentage drop, which lasted exactly a week. As of 19 August, arrivals began increasing again. It is expected that the arrivals will fluctuate over the next few days but return to steady growth by September. TAT is optimistic that the projected arrivals of 33 million visitors this year can be met.Among some of the high-profile visits and events that have proceeded normally are:A Phuket call by the Pacific Eden cruise ship, with 1,343 passengers and 620 crew members. Phuket was one of the major destinations of Pacific Eden’s one-month inaugural sailing in Asia.The Travel Managers Conference from Australia, comprising 230 participants to join the team-building, and workshop activities during 19-21 August, 2016, at the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong in Bangkok.Among Japanese travellers, several pre-booked school tours from Japan have gone ahead as planned with organisers expressing full confidence in the safety and security of the kingdom.Mr. Yuthasak credited several factors for this minimal impact, but cited the positive force of social media as playing a large role.“It is clear that visitors no longer just rely on mainstream news delivered via TV and print for their information. Social media networks can also be used effectively to provide accurate and updated news,” he added.“We did this well via our in-house crisis management channels at TAT. I am happy to report that our private sector, which has a very high stake in warding off cancellations, also did a good job. The thousands of visitors who were in Thailand at the time were also able to make use of their own social media channels to communicate the all-clear.”He noted that all the various recovery campaigns (read more here: Thailand formulating strategies to boost industry and tourist confidence after recent incidents) would remain in place, especially those targeted at women visitors in this month marking the auspicious 84th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.“We look forward to communicating a strong business-as-usual message at all the international travel trade events over the course of the rest of the year. And once more, we thank all our visitors, security agencies and the private sector for their support and confidence in Thailand.”Find out events and festivals on September 2016 HERE Fly THAI Amazing Thailand
Take a tour of the city where they say dreams come true. In a single, you get to meet a hot dog vendor who works at Yankee Stadium, visit the subterranean world that keeps the city cool and go onstage with one of Broadway’s newest sensations.Source: BBC
A team of six partners from New Zealand met with over 500 delegates at the 12th Associations Forum National Conference last week at Sydney’s ICC, the 7th year NZ has taken part in the AFNC.Represented across the two day conference were:Auckland Museum – Tamaki Paenga HiraChristchurch & Canterbury Convention BureauConventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ)Destination Rotorua Business EventsHobbiton™ Movie SetThe Langham AucklandSkyline QueenstownTourism New Zealand“With true Kiwi Manaakitanga (hospitality), we had a constant flow of Antipodes New Zealand Artesian water available to refresh delegates throughout the conference, as well as a special Cloudy Bay wine event on day two,” saidConventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Australia Manager Sharon Auld.The NZ team was on hand to outline the support available to associations for their business events, big and small, and Auld said there was particular interest in Tourism New Zealand’s Conference Assistance Programme which provides the opportunity for applicants to secure marketing support. New Zealandtrade event
The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo TEMPE, Ariz. — The more things change, the more they stay the same.Such is Carson Palmer’s rehabilitation process.Palmer, who has missed the last two games with a nerve injury in his throwing shoulder, was excused from practice Wednesday so he could go see another specialist. At this point, more than three weeks since the injury occurred, he said it was more of a visit to make sure every stone is turned over, to make sure nothing has been missed now that the injury regressed over the bye week. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Top Stories Comments Share “Same feedback,” he said. “No structural damage to the shoulder, no surgery, it’s not career-ending, it’s not season-ending. Nothing like that. “So that was all positive and just going to continue to do the rehab I’ve been doing with our guys and we’re very confident that this thing will wake back up and come back.”That it is at this point — now — is a disappointment to Palmer, who last week was able to throw the football upwards of 40 yards and felt confident he would be ready for Sunday’s tilt with the Denver Broncos. But even though he wasn’t throwing with a delivery anywhere near his full speed, he said it must have “frustrated the nerve.”
A 46-year-old Bulgarian woman found in a field in Paphos died from hemorrhagic shock resulting from multiple injuries, possibly caused by farming equipment, reports said on Friday.Petrana Milkova was spotted lying in a field on Thursday at lunchtime by a passer-by, who called an ambulance.At the time, the woman was still alive, but was complaining of severe pain.She was rushed to Paphos general hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead on arrival.Following a five-hour post mortem, state pathologist Angeliki Papetta said she was handing her findings over to police, declining to offer further comment.Police continued their investigation into the incident, focusing on the area where the woman was found.Officers were examining farming equipment in the area and have questioned several people who work there, but so far they have no leads.Meanwhile, the woman’s 46-year-old partner, Ivan Ivanov, said the couple had arrived in Cyprus a few days ago to find work.He said he went to work in the morning at a plant nursery while his partner told him she was planning to go out at around 10am in search of a job.But in the afternoon the police called him to let him know what had happened. The man said he was told that his partner was seen alive at around 11.10am walking in the area where she was later found injured.The woman has a daughter who lives in Germany and a son in Bulgaria from her first marriage.Ivanov appealed for financial help so that he could fly her body to Bulgaria and arrange for her funeral.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Expenditure on environmental protection in industry increased to €29.8m in 2017 from €24.2m the previous year, according to data released on Tuesday.In 2017, environmental spending accounted for 0.15 per cent of GDP, the statistical service said.By sector of economic activity, manufacturing industries reported the lion’s share of expenditure at €24.7m, mining, quarrying and electricity €4.9m, and water treatment and supply €0.2m.In the manufacturing sector the total was broken down into food processing €8.9m, non-metallic mineral products €8.4m, beverages €1.7m, pharmaceuticals and preparations €1.2m and basic metals €1.1m.By environmental domain, expenditure relating to the reduction of air emissions accounted for €10.9m of total spending, monitoring, treatment and disposal of waste €9.9m, treatment of wastewater €7.1m and other actions such as the abatement of noise and vibrations, the protection of soil and groundwater and the protection of natural resources and biodiversity €1.9m.You May LikeCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityEarthquake insurance that fits your future plansCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoOur View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
13May Walsh, Orr kick off House committee meetings on Detroit’s Recovery and Michigan’s Future Categories: News “We can’t turn a blind eye” —WalshCommittee Chair John Walsh, R-Livonia, today welcomed Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to the first meeting of the newly created committee on Detroit’s Recovery and Michigan’s Future, which began with an overview of Detroit and Michigan history and outlined the key points of the legislative package aimed to help resolve the city’s bankruptcy settlement.“I wanted to begin by sharing our research with the committee because it’s important to establish why the state’s assistance is needed in the first place,” Walsh said. “Detroit’s situation is challenging, but that doesn’t mean we can turn a blind eye. With the help of state government, unions, nonprofits and a number of other stakeholders, the city will be back on its feet in no time.”A city that was once the fourth largest in the nation is now undergoing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. As a legal subdivision of the state of Michigan, Detroit’s successes and challenges affect all Michiganders. Kevyn Orr said city assets—including the Detroit Institute of Arts—would be protected from dissolution if the state of Michigan contributed to the settlement.“The state has a responsibility to taxpayers to go about this in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible,” Walsh said. “If we don’t take steps toward reform today, the state will pay for it exponentially in the long run. As a lawyer, citizen and elected official, I ask the public’s help and thoughtfulness as we balance the importance of investment and oversight.”The committee will be meeting twice more this week: 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 14, and following session on Thursday, May 15. Wednesday’s meeting will feature details of the 11-bill package from sponsors, as well as brief oral testimony from the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce among others representing unions and associations. Thursday’s meeting calls for oral testimony from the public, but written public testimony is welcome at both meetings.All committee meetings will be held in House Appropriations, Room 352 at the State Capitol Building in Lansing. Those who wish to submit testimony may contact Rep. Walsh’s office at 517-373-3920, JohnWalsh@house.mi.gov or online at RepJohnWalsh.com. More information on the 11-bill package can be found at gophouse.org.###
Categories: Allor News,News State Rep. Sue Allor today voted for sweeping bipartisan legislation, including a bill she introduced, to make state government more transparent and accountable.Allor, of Wolverine, explained the legislative package makes the governor and lieutenant governor subject to the Freedom of Information Act and creates a similar disclosure requirement for state representatives and senators called the Legislative Open Records Act.“As a county commissioner I was subject to open records acts and there is absolutely no reason Michigan’s government should not adhere to the same accountability standards,” Allor said. “I made a commitment to foster a more open state government. This package of bills follows through on that promise.”Allor introduced one bill in the package, creating the cost-oriented foundation for LORA which will itemize permissible fees – which will ensure that individuals requesting the information from government entities is not unfairly overcharged.”Michigan is one of just a few states that do not subject their legislative and executive branches to open records acts. The House recently put a salary database of all House employees on its website to provide more accountability to taxpayers.##### 16Mar Rep. Allor, colleagues vote to improve government transparency
Share4TweetShare3Email7 SharesImage Credit: Debra SweetSeptember 14, 2015; The GuardianThe life of a whistleblower is anything but easy. In many governmental and corporate offices, they are ostracized and harassed by their peers and superiors, but the stories of whistleblowers at the United Nations are quite distinctive. Caroline Hunt-Matthes had been an investigator for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As reported by the Government Accountability Project, Hunt-Matthes had made several protected disclosures through internal UNHCR processes, “including interference/obstruction in an investigation of the rape of a UN staff member in Sri Lanka by a UNHCR staff member (the rape was subsequently confirmed); her supervisor’s decision to investigate a colleague without disclosing to him that he was under investigation; the organization’s failure to register a sexual harassment complaint against the High Commissioner (subsequently confirmed); and the unlawful detention of refugees by senior UNHCR staff, leading to the death of a refugee while in detention.” As a reward for her disclosures, Hunt-Matthes was fired by email while she was on medical leave.The UN Dispute Tribunal ruled that Hunt-Matthes had followed appropriate protocol in reporting what she learned and that her negative performance review and subsequent firing were clearly acts of retaliation. Nonetheless, the UN has appealed the UNDT decision, throwing teams of UN lawyers Hunt-Matthes while challenging the authority of the Tribunal to even hear the case. Although the UN Office of Staff Legal Assistance is representing her on the appeal, the Office refused to represent her before the UNDT in the initial case, calling the task “beyond the capacity and resources of the office.” She ended up being represented by a UN translator.To put this in perspective, the Hunt-Matthes case is in its tenth year. Despite the facts of the case, the UN seems to believe it has no reason to acknowledge its errors in handling her situation. That seems to be the UN’s MO, regardless of who is running the shop as UN Secretary General. “The percentage of whistleblowers who actually receive relief through this channel [the UN Ethics Office] remains abysmally low,” said Bea Edwards, the international director of GAP. “We’re now working with UN whistleblowers who have simply resigned rather than endure such a protracted and complex internal process.”“The bottom line is the UN is not a safe working environment at the minute,” Hunt-Matthes herself says. “You can’t report misconduct and be protected. What could be more serious than that?”The headline case this past year of a senior UN aid worker, Anders Kompass, who revealed the sexual abuse of children by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic. After much controversy, a reluctant Ban Ki-moon was compelled to order an external inquiry into the Kompass affair. Another case involves James Wasserstrom, a client of the Government Accountability Project, who while assigned to a peacekeeping operation in Kosovo uncovered a plot to kick back $500 million to UN and Kosovo officials. His whistleblowing got him arrested and fired in 2007 and the Ethics Office failed to intervene on his behalf.Perhaps whistleblowing is worse at the UN than elsewhere because of the byzantine organizational structure, or a perceived need to protect the thin skins of the member nations that might feel aggrieved if their nationals assigned to the UN get pinpointed for taking bribes or raping civilians. Apparently, the UN through its Ethics Office and the various tribunals is trying to present itself as more responsive to whistleblowers’ concerns, but the picture isn’t convincing. “It is all window dressing,” an anonymous UN whistleblower told The Guardian. “The offices within the UN that are supposed to protect staff members do the very opposite. They side with and report to management. For example, office of staff legal assistance and the ethics office, neither of which are independent. And you cannot appeal decisions of the supposedly independent ethics office because they are now considered ‘recommendations.’”“Nothing will change until there is real accountability in the organization, and that will never happen unless and until there is a truly independent and separate agency established that is not part of the UN secretariat, but reports directly—and separately—to the member states,” says Peter Gallo, a former investigator for the UN Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), who himself has been unsuccessfully trying to be recognized as a whistleblower.The UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, believes that one of the issues is that undemocratic nations without traditions of free speech—including the ameliorative impact of whistleblowing on out-of-control governments and corporations—don’t understand whistleblowing as “a public accountability mechanism.” Because the UN tends toward limited transparency in its operations, that “opacity…makes it easy for an employee to suffer retaliation.”That is, it would seem, too easy an analysis, as ostensibly democratic countries with freedom of information laws—like the FOIA in the U.S.—are still prone to mistreat whistleblowers. From Edward Snowden on down, there are whistleblowers who have revealed governmental and corporate misbehavior only to find themselves virtually eliminated from future job prospects (or, in the case of Edwards, a return to his homeland) because of their willingness to risk all for the sake of speaking the truth.“Whistleblowers are basically left to decide whether to fight the entire system while working there, or just keep quiet. So most of the time they just keep quiet. […] Civil servants become accomplices to crimes in order to save their jobs,” said Aicha Elbasri, the former UN spokesperson in Darfur. She didn’t. She left the UN, and in doing so turned over thousands of documents to Foreign Policy magazine documenting the role of the UN in “obscuring the reality of atrocities being committed against Darfuris…and failing to protect civilians.” Elbasri is a hero to truth tellers, sticking to her facts, willing to leave her job at the UN in order to campaign incessantly against the murderous government of Sudan’s Omar el-Bashir.Elbasri is also a client of the Government Accountability Project, which courageously stands up for whistleblowers in the U.S. government and clearly within the United Nations too.—Rick CohenShare4TweetShare3Email7 Shares
Share27TweetShare43Email70 SharesNo Access – Milf Cleaner / darkdayJune 20, 2016; Wall Street JournalLast week, the House passed a bill that would block the IRS from accessing nonprofit donor lists in the hopes that Americans wouldn’t “be singled out by the IRS for their political beliefs,” according to bill sponsor Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL). While both the opposition and supporters have strong arguments, a loss of transparency—even, in this case, confidential donor information held in trust by the IRS—is seldom a good thing. Currently, nonprofit organizations are required to submit a list of every donor who has gifted $5,000 or more; however, it isn’t clear if and how the IRS is using this information. The IRS indicates that the idea behind donor disclosure was to determine “whether or not the people who make large contributions have undue influence over the operation of the organization.” With the passing of the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act, 501(c) organizations will no longer be required to send this information to the IRS; however, donations of $5,000 or greater made by employees, directors or officers of nonprofit organizations will still need to be disclosed. For more information, please refer to the NPQ Newswire’s previous coverage. This legislation comes in the wake of the 2013 scandal in which the IRS scrutinized Tea Party and other conservative organizations more than other applicants for tax-exempt status because of their political ideology, as well as leaked donor information without the authorization of the nonprofit organizations. One case that is often referenced concerns the National Organization for Marriage, which is a group that opposes same-sex marriage. As NPQ reported in 2013, the organization claims that in 2012 the IRS leaked confidential donor information to groups that supported same-sex marriage. The leakage at the very least cost the nonprofit organization some donors, and at the most influenced the 2012 presidential election when it became public that a group with ties to nominee Mitt Romney had donated $10,000 to NOM. The IRS ended up settling the lawsuit for $50,000, saying it had unintentionally released the donor information.On the other side of this argument, the legislation also comes shortly after the release of the infamous Panama Papers. In opposition to this bill, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) said, “No need to go offshore anymore. You could just put it in a not-for-profit organization in any quantity, because your name would never be disclosed by that organization if this bill were to take effect.” The Obama administration also opposes the bill, and in the Statement of Administration Policy said, “By permanently removing the IRS from requiring reporting or donor information by 501(c) organizations, H.R. 5053 would constrain the IRS in enforcing tax laws and reduce the transparency of private foundations.”The opposition’s argument is even more convincing when we look at how outside spending by 501(c) organizations has increased in just the past few years. The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) tracks how money is spent in U.S. politics. Their research shows that outside spending by nonprofit organizations in the 2016 election is three times what it was for the 2012 election. Where this money comes from and how it is spent allows groups such as the CRP to track the political activity of nonprofit organizations. For instance, the list of donors allows the CRP to determine whether a group claiming to offer grassroots support in an election is funded by a large number of small donations, or whether funding comes from one multimillion-dollar donation. The disclosure is also important in determining whether groups are receiving illegal foreign donations.Traditionally, confidentiality provisions have been recognized as part of First Amendment protection for supporters of controversial organizations. In a 1958 case, the U.S. Supreme Court has protected the confidentiality of membership and support of the NAACP, and the IRS has refrained from collecting information on donors and members of the Socialist Workers Party, which claimed that its supporters would face harassment should its list become public. While protecting donor confidentiality is critical for nonprofit organizations, it is unclear whether public disclosure of contributions will actually have a negative impact on contributions from new or current donors. For instance, will donors be comfortable gifting to organizations that are suspected of using foreign contributions to influence U.S. politics? Without any way of proving these suspicions false, potential donors might just keep their distance. Additionally, some individuals are encouraged to donate to an organization when their donor list shows reputable community members. At the end of the day, this legislation appears to have been written for and has the greatest effect on 501(c)(4) organizations; however, its impact might be felt downstream on all 501(c) organizations. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.—Sheela NimishakaviShare27TweetShare43Email70 Shares
Share21TweetShare5Email26 SharesJune 29, 2016, The Asia FoundationEarlier this year, China’s parliament passed the country’s first law against domestic violence. Chinese culture holds that women have a moral responsibility to defend their marriages. The shame involved in seeking help or for family and friends to advocate on behalf of the victim is one reason why it took China so long to join other nations in developing laws to address this social ill. According to the All-China Women’s Federation, established by the Communist Party of China, about a quarter of women suffer violence in their marriage, though very few complaints are registered. In November 2014, Chinese legislators drafted China’s first domestic violence law. The law was passed by Parliament in July 2015 and took effect on March 1, 2016. The law prohibits any form of domestic abuse, including psychological, and provides a process for obtaining restraining orders. The law covers unmarried people cohabiting, though there are no legal protections for same-sex couples.Chen Tingting, the Asia Foundation’s program officer for women’s empowerment, examines the impact and implications of this new law.The new law’s immediate effect was seen in a wave of media coverage spotlighting domestic violence cases, including the deaths of two women around the time it came into force. A consistent thread in these women’s stories was an inability to leave the abusive relationships or to disclose their suffering. A victim’s decision not to make a complaint to the police—willingly or unwillingly—can easily undermine the ability of the new law to uphold justice. In China, domestic violence cases are processed under the principle of “no trial without complaint.” The new law allows close relatives to file a complaint on behalf of victims who may not be able to do so on their own. This would then allow police or women’s federations to request restraining orders from the courts.Violence against women is a global scourge. A Copenhagen Consensus Center paper reports that domestic violence is more costly in lives lost and dollars spent than warfare. The United Nations estimates that one in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence. The UN’s 1993 General Assembly Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women makes it incumbent upon every nation to enact laws to protect women.In the United States, the national battered women’s movement grew from a system of informal shelters and safe-house networks spread across the country. Starting in the early ’70s, the movement worked long and hard to get similar laws passed locally and federally. But they also strove to counter the cultural assumptions surrounding the problem in public education campaigns—the laws would have been virtually useless without intensive training of police and judges, developed in concert with sympathetic actors in each of these realms. (For more on the remarkable history of this movement and on movements in general, readers should consult Susan Schecter’s unique Women and Male Violence: The Visions and Struggles of the Battered Women’s Movement.) The American battered women’s movement took place in the context of a thriving and socially challenging civil society. The mission was to engage the women being served in a joint struggle to raise consciousness not only to end violence, but to rethink the gender assumptions embedded in “the rule of law” and elsewhere. It was, in other words, a product of feminist analysis. The work in China is clearly based in the same analytical framework.Unequal power dynamics between the abuser and the abused are not always determined by relative financial security. Perhaps more fundamentally, these power dynamics are often based on gender norms. Contrary to the popular myth that victims of domestic violence are usually less educated or financially dependent, many women who are university-educated and even providers for their households are also victims of domestic violence.Chen Tingting describes the new law as being the “result of almost two decades of campaigning driven by China’s civil society groups,” but she says “it will take a more insightful public education campaign, and a firm commitment to upholding human rights, to transform the underlying mindset that currently constrains further progress. Until then, the path to ending domestic violence will be a long one for China, as elsewhere.”—James Schaffer and Ruth McCambridgeShare21TweetShare5Email26 Shares
News channel France 24 has concluded various distribution deals in eastern Europe.In Slovenia, the channel is now available on new IPTV platform T-2. It is now available in English and French.In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the English version of France 24 is now distributed by Telinea. The channel is also now available in on No Limit Technology’s cable network.In Russia, the English version of the channel is now available on channel on Luchshe.net’s IPTV offer.
Al Jazeera’s French sports channel beIN Sport and Eurosport have secured rights to broadcast Ligue 2 football for the next four seasons.BeIN Sport will air nine matches including the week’s top fixture, while Eurosport will air one match each Monday evening. According to Le Parisien’s BRL TV blog, citing unnamed sources, the two deals could net the professional football league, the LFP, a record €23 million a year.According to various French press reports, there is a growing expectation that beIN Sport will soon come to an agreement for distribution via CanalSat, despite the intense rivalry between the two groups. Until now, Al Jazeera Sport has demanded minimum guarantees judged to be too high by Canal Plus, but there are signs that the Qatar-based broadcaster has softened its stance in recent days, according to the reports.
Rodolphe BelmerVivendi is creating a new content unit to be headed by Canal+ CEO Rodolphe Belmer, who will take on new responsibilities at the pay TV operator’s parent company in addition to his existing role, according to an internal email obtained by French news service BFM TV.According to the email, circulated to Vivendi staff on January 12, Vivendi Contents will be charged with conceiving and developing new content formats across both music and video, and guiding investment in these. Belmer will take on, in addition to his role at Canal+, responsibilities spanning production arm StudioCanal, music group UMG and all content creation subsidiary units.In the email, Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré outlined four priority areas for the company: future content development, data and monetisation, Africa, and cooperation and projects.The email called for Vivendi’s subsidiary heads to work together to put in place a team able to manage talent across all areas with a view to creating “monetisable content” on the model of Universal Music and Canal+. It also called, among other things, for the creation a legal office specialising in rights and a team charged with managing talent for the duration of their contracts on the model of talent agencies, the creation of a group of brand and marketing specialists “capable of defining the DNA of talent” and identifying partnerships that could be associated with Vivendi brands and monetising those brands on the model of Havas, and a team with expertise in data mining.A new committee will meet each Tuesday to monitor the company’s progress towards its goals, composed of leading managers involved in the process.According to BFM TV’s analysis, Belmer’s promotion comes against the background of Canal+ president Bertrand Meheut’s continued presence at the pay TV unit. BFM TV argues that Bolloré has been keen to give Belmer, who expected to succeed Meheut and take overall control of Canal+, a role that will ensure he stays with the company. In December, Belmer told Le Figaro newspaper that he had no plans to be a candidate to become president of public broadcaster France Télévisions, amid speculation that he could take that role.
African telco Tigo is launching a new on-demand service targeting its 2.5 million customers in Rwanda.The telco is working with VoD firm Vonetize, which operates a paid-for mobile-focused streaming service in Africa under the Aflix brand. It is now in 34 African countries and offers series and movies from distributors including several Hollywood studios.Tiga’s service will be called Aflix by SmartVOD and roll out next month.“Rwanda has made leaps and bounds with regard to its internet infrastructure, making Tigo the perfect partner for our launch in Rwanda,” said Noam Josephides, CEO of Vonetize. “Consumers there long for affordable, quality content and Aflix is the only Hollywood content service available in Sub-Saharan Africa feeding this need.”
The BBC Trust has defended its right to remain a “universal public service broadcaster” and opposed the potential sale of its commercial arm BBC Worldwide or future ‘top-slicing’ of the licence fee.In its formal response to the UK Government’s Green Paper consultation on the BBC’s Charter Review, the BBC’s governing body claimed that, at 92%, the vast majority of the public agreed that the BBC should provide “something for everyone who pays the licence fee”.The Trust argued that the licence fee, modernised to take account of iPlayer, remains “the most sensible way of funding the BBC” and argued that the licence fee should not be top-sliced to pay for things like digital radio switchover.It also said that BBC Worldwide owns the BBC’s content on behalf of the licence fee payer and that selling or privatising it would “remove from the BBC the long-term stream of funding and investment that it provides.”“Our evidence so far shows that the public supports a BBC that is universal, independent and at the heart of our cultural life. Today’s response to the Government is grounded in what tens of thousands of people have told us; our work continues with more research and consultation in the coming months, and we will play a full part in the discussions with the Government as the BBC’s future is decided,” said BBC Trust Chairman Rona Fairhead.Separately, the BBC, in its own submission to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Charter Review public consultation, said that the “universality” provided by shows and sporting events like The Great British Bake Off, Strictly Come Dancing, the FA Cup and Wimbledon “should not be taken for granted.”The broadcaster said that while its output should be clearly distinguishable from its commercial competitors, this should not equate to ‘market failure’ or “stepping back from popular content”“The BBC’s services should be distinctive, not distinct. The BBC makes good popular programmes – if we withdrew, audiences would have less choice,” said the broadcaster in its 103-page Charter Review document.“The value of – and public support for – the BBC comes from the range and depth of its content. We achieve universality with distinctive services, and that universality is valuable because of the quality of those services.”The BBC document calls for new Charter that allows the BBC to continue to serve all audiences, focus investment on British content, and act as “the cornerstone of Britain’s creative industries”.“The public wants a strong – and independent – BBC that produces great programmes, gives them impartial news and ensures Britain’s voice is heard abroad,” said BBC director general Tony Hall.“Our programme of reform will ensure the BBC is fit for the internet age, focused on the things that matter to audiences, continues to support the economy and is an unashamed champion of British talent, content and creativity.”
Telefónica had 2.5 million TV customers in Spain at the end of September, up 275,000 quarter-on-quarter and up 1.6 million compared with the same period last year.The company’s Movistar Fusión bundled offering had four million customers at the end of the period, accounting for close to 90% of gross additions for the period. The offering accounted for over half of new Movistar customers in the period. Some 58% of Movistar Fusión customers take pay TV, including 120,000 satellite TV customers.Revenue from the Spanish operation grew for the first time since the third quarter of 2008, rising 0.2% year-on-year to €2.998 billion. However, OIBDA fell by 2.9% to €1.335 billion thanks to costs related to TV programming.Pay TV in Latin America also grew. Telefónica Brasil saw its TV base grow by 19% year-on-year to 1.8 million, while Spanish-speaking America saw pay TV subscribers rise 17% year-on-year.Telefónica’s overall consolidated revenue grew by 12%, while net income grew by 69.6% to €4.577 billion.The company’s Movistar Fusión bundled offering had four million customers at the end of the period, accounting for close to 90% of gross additions for the period. The offering accounted for over half of new Movistar customers in the period. Some 58% of Movistar Fusión customers take pay TV, including 120,000 satellite TV customers.Revenue from the Spanish operation grew for the first time since the third quarter of 2008, rising 0.2% year-on-year to €2.998 billion. However, OIBDA fell by 2.9% to €1.335 billion thanks to costs related to TV programming.Pay TV in Latin America also grew. Telefónica Brasil saw its TV base grow by 19% year-on-year to 1.8 million, while Spanish-speaking America saw pay TV subscribers rise 17% year-on-year.Telefónica’s overall consolidated revenue grew by 12%, while net income grew by 69.6% to €4.577 billion.
Scandinavian SVOD player Viaplay’s latest original is an Icelandic drama.The commission of Stella Blómkvist is the first time MTG-owned Viaplay has looked to Iceland for an original show.Icelandic TV provider Siminn has local rights, as Viaplay is not distributed in the territory.The series is based on a bestselling book series from a mysterious and anonymous writer and follows a lawyer hired to defend a low life thug who is accused of killing the prime minister’s beautiful assistant.Despite initially seeming an open-and-shut case, the eponymous heroine finds herself immersed in a dangerous, high-level conspiracy.Hilmar SigurdssonSagafilm, which is behind series such as Netflix’s Case, has been tapped to produced, with co-developer Red Arrow International set to launch the show at MIPCOM in October.Jóhann Ævar Grímsson, Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir and Andri Óttarsso are writing, with Óskar Thor Axelsson (Trapped) directing, and Heida Reed (Poldark) in the lead role.“It’s exciting to be a part of building the slate of Viaplay originals with Stella Blómkvist,” said Hilmar Sigurdsson CEO of Sagafilm. “The series is Sagafilm’s most ambitious project to date and we are thrilled to have Viaplay as our Scandinavian partner in the project, along with Siminn, our local broadcaster in Iceland.”The show was first pitched at Series Mania 2016 a year ago.For Viaplay, the series is one of 50 projects it is currently working on. COO Lina Brounéus told DTVE sister title TBI that the plan was to commission as many of these as possible, in order to keep development waste to a minimum.
Hispasat’s control centreEutelsat has agreed to sell its 33.69% stake in Hispasat to Abertis for €302 million.The agreement follows the initiation of the process in July 2016 when Eutelsat exercised the put option granted in 2008 by Abertis, Hispasat’s majority shareholder.The €302 million price marks a 7.1-times EBITDA multiple based on Hispasat’s 2016 results.“The divestment of the stake is consistent with Eutelsat’s strategy of rationalising its portfolio of assets in order to maximise cash generation,” said the satellite operator in a statement.The transaction is now subject to Spanish government approval and other customary conditions, and is expected to close in the second half of 2017.
MTG has sold its 95% shareholding in Nova Broadcasting Group in Bulgaria in a deal that values the full business at €185 million (SEK 1.83 billion).Jørgen Madsen LindemannMTG sold its Nova stake to PPF Group, the investment company controlled by Czech billionaire and businessman Petr Kellner, with the deal forming part of MTG’s ongoing strategic transformation from a “traditional national broadcaster to a global digital entertainer”.MTG said it will use the proceeds from the sale to invest in its digital entertainment business, as well as in its Nordic Entertainment and MTG Studios divisions – which it was due to sell to Danish telco TDC before the deal collapsed last week.Commercial media group, Nova, employs 650 people and the business consists of seven TV channels and 19 online businesses, which together generated SEK 991 million in sales and SEK 195 million in operating income for full year 2017.“We have built Nova into Bulgaria’s number one commercial media group with 33% commercial share of viewing, and ownership of some of the country’s top digital brands,” said MTG CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, who also paid tribute to Nova CEO Didier Stoessel.“MTG’s investments are focused on our Nordic Entertainment, Studios and global digital entertainment verticals, which is why we have found a new home for our Bulgarian employees with a partner that will invest in Nova’s future.”“We wish Didier and the whole Nova team every continued success. This will bring to a close the disposal of our international entertainment operations and leaves MTG as a more focused group, which is in line with our previously stated strategy.”With the deal, MTG has effectively sold off all of its traditional TV assets – except for its content production arm MTG Studios and Nordic Entertainment, which runs platforms like Viafree, Viaplay and Viasat, as well as ad-funded Scandinavian TV channels.Earlier this year MTG agreed to sell its 75% stake in youth broadcaster Trace in a deal that valued 100% of the business at €40 million. Last year it also sold its Czech TV assets for €116 million and its Baltic broadcasting business for €100 million.Over the same period, MTG has bulked up its digital arm, MTGx, by investing in companies like browser-based games firm InnoGames and US games publisher and developer Kongregate.MTG’s plan to sell Studios and Nordic entertainment to TDC was scuppered after TDC accepted a €5.4 billion takeover offer from a consortium of bidders. The offer was contingent on the earlier announced MTG-TDC deal not proceeding.MTG first entered Bulgaria in 2007 by investing in Balkan Media Group Limited, which operated the Diema TV channels. It later acquired Nova in 2008.
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