Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona JERUSALEM (AP) — A leading international watchdog on Wednesday accused the militant Hamas group of abducting, torturing and killing Palestinians during the war in the Gaza Strip last year, saying some of the actions amount to war crimes.Amnesty International detailed the abuses in a report entitled “Strangling Necks’: Abduction, torture and summary killings of Palestinians by Hamas forces during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict.” New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Hamas used the war to “ruthlessly settle scores, carrying out a series of unlawful killings and other grave abuses,” Amnesty’s Philip Luther said. “These spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes, were designed to exact revenge and spread fear across the Gaza Strip.”The report said 16 of the people killed by Hamas were already being held by the militant group when the conflict erupted and many of them were waiting to hear the verdict of their Hamas-organized trials. “Many had been sentenced after trials before courts whose proceedings are grossly unfair. A number had said they had been tortured in order to extract ‘confessions,’” the report said.Amnesty’s report also said that Hamas abducted and tortured people in an outpatient clinic that was no longer in use, within the grounds of Gaza City’s main hospital, Shifa.“Hamas forces have displayed a disregard for the most fundamental rules of international humanitarian law,” Luther said. “Torture and cruel treatment of detainees in an armed conflict is a war crime. Extrajudicial executions are also war crimes.”This was not Amnesty’s first report on the 2014 Gaza war. Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology According to the London-based human rights group, some 23 Palestinians were shot and killed and dozens more were arrested and tortured by Hamas, which rules Gaza. The Palestinians targeted were either political rivals of Hamas, including members of the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, or people the militant group had accused of cooperating with Israel, Amnesty said.Wednesday’s report highlighted a particularly brutal incident, which it said took place in Gaza on Aug. 22.“In one of the most shocking incidents, six men were publicly executed by Hamas forces outside al-Omari mosque … in front of hundreds of spectators, including children,” Amnesty said. Hamas had announced the men were suspected “collaborators” who had been sentenced death in “revolutionary courts,” the rights group added.“The hooded men were dragged along the floor to kneel by a wall facing the crowd, then each man was shot in the head individually before being sprayed with bullets fired from an AK-47,” the report said of the August incident.Hamas violently seized Gaza from forces loyal to Abbas in 2007, leaving Palestinians bitterly divided — Hamas ruling Gaza and Abbas governing parts of the West Bank. Since then, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at Israel and fought three wars with the Jewish state. Over 2,200 Palestinians were killed during the 50-day war last summer. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments Share In March, the group accused Hamas of war crimes for launching unguided rockets and mortars from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel, saying that was a breach of international law. And in December, Amnesty condemned Israel for flattening four landmark buildings in the final days of the war. Israel dismissed that report, saying Hamas was using the buildings as command centers.Salah Bardawil, a Hamas official in Gaza, said the incidents mentioned in the report took place ‘outside the framework of the law’ and Hamas was investigating them.___Associated Press writer Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency said Sunday that its comet lander Philae has woken up from hibernation and managed to send data back to Earth for the first time in seven months. The probe went quiet on Nov. 15, three days after it was separated from its mother ship Rosetta and touched down on the city surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.Here’s a look at key moments during the mission:___March 2, 2004: Europe’s unmanned probe Rosetta takes off from Kourou, French Guiana, after a series of delays, including an abandoned January 2003 launch window because of a rocket problem. Comments Share Feb. 25, 2007: Rosetta carries out a close flyby of Mars. European Space Agency’s mission control breaks out in applause after the end of 15 tense minutes of radio silence as the craft passes behind the Red Planet.Sept. 5, 2008: Probe successfully passes close to an asteroid 250 million miles from Earth. The spacecraft loses its radio signal for 90 minutes as planned during the flyby of the Steins asteroid, also known as Asteroid 2867.July 10, 2010: Between Mars and Jupiter, Rosetta transmits its first pictures from the largest asteroid ever visited by a satellite after it flies by Lutetia as close as 1,900 miles (3,200 kilometers). It is the closest look to date at the Lutetia asteroid.Jan. 20, 2014: Waking after almost three years of hibernation, Rosetta sends its first signal back to Earth. Systems had been powered down in 2011 to conserve energy, leaving scientists in the dark for 31 months.Aug. 6, 2014: Rosetta swings alongside comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko somewhere between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.Nov. 12, 2014: The probe releases the Philae lander and it drops to the comet’s surface. Seven hours later, Philae touches down on the comet.Nov. 15, 2014: Philae goes into hibernation after performing experiments and sending data back to Earth for 60 hours. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Feb. 14, 2015: Rosetta swoops to a distance of just 6 kilometers (less than 4 miles) above the surface of the comet to take close-up pictures of the surface.June 11, 2015: Scientists say they may have caught a glimpse of Philae, whose exact location remains unknown. After analyzing images and other data collected over the past months they identified several possible sites including one bright spot described as “a good candidate for the lander.”June 13, 2015: Philae communicates with Earth for the first time in seven months in a sign that it has come out of hibernation.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Sponsored Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Four benefits of having a wireless security system
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 12 Comments Share On the rise, Rice left the desert to sign with Tampa Bay, joining what some consider to be one of the best defenses of the 2000s consisting of Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp as well as All-Pro defensive backs Ronde Barber and John Lynch.With the Buccaneers, Rice won a Super Bowl and recorded double-digit sacks in five consecutive seasons.He has not played since the 2007 season but expressed serious interest about making a comeback in 2017.Quarterback Jake Plummer (1997-2002)Signed with Denver in 2003Plummer’s 30-52 record was not what the Cardinals anticipated after spending a second-round pick on him in 1997. However, he was the only Cardinals quarterback to make the playoffs between 1983 and 2007.Arizona’s 1998 NFC Wild Card win was the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 1982 and the first playoff win since 1947.The Broncos signed Plummer to a seven-year deal during the 2003 offseason and his record improved drastically in four seasons with Denver. He went 39-15, reaching the playoffs in each of the first three seasons before being benched 11 games into the 2006 season.Safety Antrel Rolle (2005-09)Signed with New York Giants in 2010 A former first-round pick, Rolle was one of top players at his position in the NFC during his time in Arizona. He recorded 12 interceptions but what stands out is that he returned four of those for touchdowns.A starter on the Cardinals 2008 Super Bowl team, Rolle made the Pro Bowl in the final year of his contract and was primed for a large payday.In the words of The Godfather and Don Vito Corleone, the New York Giants “made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.” New York signed Rolle to a five-year, $37 million contract that made him the highest paid safety in the NFL at the time.Rolle recorded 14 interceptions and five forced fumbles in five seasons with the Giants and was part of the team that won the Super Bowl in 2011.Defensive end Calais Campbell (2008-16)(AP Photo/John Froschauer)Signed with Jacksonville in 2017The longest-tenured Cardinal on this list, Campbell spent nine years in Arizona. Selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Campbell recorded at least five sacks in each of his nine seasons with the Cardinals, missing six games in that span.He became both a seasoned veteran and fan favorite with the Cardinals. In the offseason of 2017, Arizona briefly exercised its franchise tag on pass rusher Chandler Jones before signing him to a five-year, $83 million extension. Following Jones’ extension, Campbell hit the free agent market. Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) celebrates a defensive stop against the Green Bay Packers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) As free agency winds down and the 2018 NFL Draft approaches, the Arizona Cardinals have undergone changes to their roster.This year, like any other, saw the Cardinals welcome in new faces while saying goodbye to others that are more familiar.Here are some of the franchise’s biggest names to leave Arizona in free agency.Defensive end Simeon Rice (1996-2000)Signed with Tampa in 2001Having recorded 122 sacks over 12 seasons, Rice was one of the most-feared defensive ends in the NFL. Selected No. 3 overall by Arizona in the 1996 NFL Draft, Rice spent five years of his career with the Cardinals. While he was named Rookie of the Year, his best season in Arizona came in 1999 when he forced five fumbles and posted a career-high 16.5 sacks. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Jacksonville signed Campbell to a four-year deal worth $60 million. In his first year with the Jaguars, he made that contract look wise. Campbell reached a career high in sacks (14.5) and became the backbone of one of the top defenses in the NFL.Safety Tyrann Mathieu (2013-17)(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)Signed with Houston in 2018Arizona’s most recent impact free-agent departure was Mathieu. Drafted by the Cardinals in 2013, Mathieu spent five seasons in Arizona.A talented defensive back, Mathieu had 11 interceptions and four forced fumbles in five seasons with the Cardinals. He was an All-Pro in 2015 but knee injuries limited his time on the field and eventually impacted his style of play.Mathieu signed with Houston this offseason after turning down a pay cut from the Cardinals.Honorable MentionsWide receiver David Boston (1999-2002) – Signed with San DiegoLinebacker Karlos Dansby (2004-09) – Signed with Miami Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Are you kidding me?Mike McCoy?@LarryFitzgerald not even on the field?Vikings stuff Cardinals!At 1 yard line.— Larry Fitzgerald Sr. (@FitzBeatSr) October 14, 2018 Tough to win in the NFL Steve Wilks appears to have put offense in questionable hands.@LarryFitzgerald has never gone 6 games without a TD.🏈 41 Comments Share — Larry Fitzgerald Sr. (@FitzBeatSr) October 14, 2018Larry Fitzgerald is from Minnesota and playing his sixth and potentially final game on the road against the Vikings.Related LinksCardinals defensive line, now healthy, disrupting Vikings pass game earlyRB David Johnson is still the foundation of the Cardinals’ offenseEarlier in the game, Fitzgerald extended his record of consecutive games with a reception to 127.At the time of the play call, the Cardinals trailed the Vikings by a score of 10-3. Top Stories Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) breaks a tackle by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Larry Fitzgerald’s father was not happy with the Arizona Cardinals call on fourth and goal from the two-yard line.The play was a run up the middle with David Johnson, but Fitzgerald’s issue with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s play call was that his son was not on the field.
Police are looking for Constantinos Balabanides, 35, from Russia, in connection with two cases of burglary and robbery on July 7 and August 28, 2017, in Paphos.In a statement on Friday, police asked anyone with information that may help find him to contact the Peyia police station on 26806360, their nearest police station, or the citizens’ hotline on 1460.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoMacy'sYou Will Not Believe Macy’s Deals for TuesdayMacy’sUndoKelley Blue Book10 Electric Cars That Last the LongestKelley Blue BookUndo 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
26Jan Hudsonville student joins Representative Garcia as ‘Representative for a Day’ Lydia VanderMolen, a third grade student at Hudsonville Christian School, gained legislative experience today while serving as a “Representative for a Day” with state Representative Daniela R. García, of Holland.VanderMolen earned the Capitol trip after participating in Representative García’s Summer Reading Contest in 2016, turning in one entry each for every 10 books she read between May and September.“This was a great experience for Lydia and me,” Representative García said. “She earned the opportunity to be in Lansing, where she toured the Capitol, joined me on the floor during a House session and we had lunch together. Lydia was great to work with and I hope this was an experience she’ll never forget.”Lydia was joined by her parents, Rebecca and Fig, and her sister Joanna, a first grade student at Hudsonville Christian School, in Lansing.“I appreciated that so many kids like Lydia participated in this contest, dropping off entries at the Gary Byker Memorial Library in Hudsonville, Howard Miller Public Library in Zeeland and Herrick District Library in Holland,” said Representative García. “It’s always a good time to read. With schools being on summer break during this contest, there was added time for the kids to enjoy more books.”Katriya Murphy, a homeschool student from Holland, was also randomly selected by Representative García to visit the Capitol and is scheduled to visit in late February.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Representative Daniela R. García joined Lydia VanderMolen, a third grade student at Hudsonville Christian School, at the Capitol for a House session today. Categories: News
01Feb Rep. Hoitenga bills provide components within needed drone guidelines Categories: Hoitenga News,News State Rep. Michele Hoitenga, chair of the House Committee on Communications and Technology, this week introduced a legislative package creating a new act relating to drones and other unmanned aircraft systems.A 2016 Federal Aviation Administration report estimated 2.5 million drones were being operated nationwide for a variety of purposes, including hobbyist and commercial. That number could grow to a projected 7 million by 2020.A 27-member Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, began work in April 2017 to develop statewide recommendations on the operation, use and regulation of unmanned aircraft in Michigan. These bills largely reflect task force recommendations.“There is really no centralized area for information on drones in terms of what you can and can’t do with them and where you can and can’t go within Michigan,” said Hoitenga, of Manton.Hoitenga’s bill, House Bill 5496, tasks the existing Michigan Aeronautics Commission with providing education and information to various departments, the public, law enforcement and other entities.Hoitenga’s other bill, HB 5494, declares drone use as an extension of a person regarding criminal activity. Illegal activity carried out with the use of a drone would be treated the same as an individual breaking the law without unmanned aircraft as an aid. These guidelines can come into play in instances where individuals drop contraband and other items onto correctional facility property for inmates.“This technology is so new and gaining popularity so rapidly that state laws have had to play catch up,” said Hoitenga. “My bill provides Michigan with a game changer for a troubling trend – if you use unmanned aircraft such as drones for nefarious and illegal purposes like dropping drugs into a prison, you will be treated the same as someone smuggling drugs within their socks while walking on to that property.”House Bills 5494-98 have been referred to the House Committee on Communications and Technology for consideration.
19Feb Rep. Griffin urges governor to revise, reissue plans for DEQ, water safety State Rep. Beth Griffin today called on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to revise a previous plan and issue another executive order reorganizing the Michigan Department ofEnvironmental Quality in an effort to expand environmental protections, increase access to safe and clean drinking water, and improve the health and safety of Michigan’s citizens.Griffin, of Mattawan, said the Legislature recently rejected an executive order reorganizing the department because a portion of the order overstepped the fundamental division of powers between the governor’s office and Legislature.“The new governor’s decision to eliminate three legislatively established commissions was an overreach of executive authority. The Legislature had a duty to act in its constitutional role as a check on the executive branch,” Griffin said. “I believe that same executive order also included many good ideas for Michigan, but because the Legislature does not have the power to edit individual lines of an executive order it had to be rejected in its entirety.”The review commissions the governor’s executive order would have abolished were put into law last year to give citizens a much-needed voice in the rule-making process, increasing the transparency and accountability of the DEQ. Prior to the creation of review commissions, citizens and small businesses had no recourse to appeal new rules made by the DEQ and were stuck with the consequences, unless they decided to pursue costly and time-consuming appeals through the courts.Griffin’s resolution calls on the governor to submit a new and revised executive order that does not include the elimination of these committees.“I’m committed to safeguarding the health and safety of Michigan families by protecting the environment and improving access to safe, clean drinking water,” Griffin said. “I’m asking the Governor to resubmit the Executive Order without elimination of the review commissions that were established by law. I’m confident we will find a lot of common ground if we work together on responsible reforms to protect and improve our water resources for all Michigan families.”House Resolution 26 has been referred to the House Government Operations Committee for consideration.### Categories: Griffin News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares May 29, 2014; MondoweissThis has to be the least publicized foundation action in a long time. Although picked up by a number of overseas news sources, it seems no one in the mainstream U.S. press noticed that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation quietly began divesting from G4S, the huge British security company that had been providing security systems and other services to Israeli prisons and equipment for Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. Divesting from G4S had been one of the consistent targets of Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) advocates.Several sources report that Gates had sold the bulk of its holdings in G4S, which purportedly may have amounted to around $167 million. In the U.K., entities that own 3 percent or more of a publicly traded company’s stock are required to notify and disclose British regulatory bodies. In this case, the Foundation filed a statement that its holdings in G4S had dipped below the 3 percent public disclosure threshold. How much of a divestment Gates is making is unclear. In 2013, it had purchased a 3.17 percent stake in G4S, so it could well be that the Foundation still holds a solid piece of the firm. Ha’aretz reported that G4S provides electronic surveillance equipment to Israeli prisons that hold significant numbers of Palestinian prisoners, including facilities at Ofer, Zetziot, and Megiddo. However, it isn’t necessarily certain that the Gates Foundation took this action pursuant to the demands of the BDS movement. G4S apparently has a contractual relationship with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for border security services, much like it does with British immigration services. The Gates Foundation has faced calls to divest from firms that bolster the currently lackluster immigration policies of the Obama administration and its conservative opposition in Congress. For all we know, the divestment action might have been in response to the advocacy of immigration activists.Nonetheless, by all appearances, the Gates Foundation is reducing stake in a firm that a number of domestic and international advocates find to be noxious, whether on immigration issues or Israeli/Palestinian dynamics. For someone, that’s a victory.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Intel has acquired the next-generation video codec software developed by RealNetworks and about 190 patents and 170 patents pending for US$120 million (€76 million).Under terms of the sale, RealNetworks retains certain rights to continue to use the patents in current and future products.In addition to the sale of the patents and next-generation video codec software, RealNetworks and Intel signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on future support and development of the next-generation video codec software and related products.“As the technology industry evolves towards an experience-centric model, users are demanding more media and graphics capabilities in their computing devices. The acquisition of these foundational media patents, additional patents and video codec software expands Intel’s diverse and extensive portfolio of intellectual property,” said Renée James, Intel senior vice-president and general manager of the Software and Services Group. “We believe this agreement enhances our ability to continue to offer richer experiences and innovative solutions to end users across a wide spectrum of devices, including through Ultrabook devices, smartphones and digital media.”
Samsung has signed a deal with Irish broadcaster RTÉ Digital to bring the RTÉ Player App to its Smart TVs.The app is free to download and will work with all Samsung 2012 Smart TVs and Smart Blu-ray Players, as well as Samsung 2011 Smart TVs and Blu-ray Players. It will offer content from series including Fair City, Home and Away, Saturday Night with Miriam and Father Ted.“Samsung is the No.1 TV brand in Ireland, and RTÉ Player is the most popular catch up TV service, so this is a natural partnership,” said Brendan Carr, product marketing manager, Samsung Ireland, “The launch of RTÉ Player is the latest addition to our ever growing library of great TV Apps, and further demonstrates our leadership in the Smart TV category. Catch up TV services are one of the leading drivers of Smart TV usage, so RTÉ Player will be a real added value benefit for Samsung Smart TV owners.”
Hulu has appointed its senior vice president of content Andy Forssell as its interim CEO, effective following departure of current boss Jason Kilar at the end of the month. In a blog post announcing the move, Kilar said that Forssell had the Hulu board’s “strong support” and that a permanent decision would be made about the VOD site’s new CEO after Disney and News Corp finish “finalising their forward-looking plans with Hulu.”According to a Wall Street Journal report earlier this month, News Corp and Disney – which co-own Hulu with Comcast – have each expressed interest in recent months about buying one another out, with a possible outcome that one firm takes the other’s stake or both sell to a third party.“Hulu’s focus remains on delivering a fantastic 2013 for customers and shareholders. Hulu is well on its way, with new records being set in Q1 across both revenue and subscriber additions,” said Kilar, without giving more details about the high level discussions taking place by the firm’s owners.Kilar said in January that he and chief technology officer Rich Tom would to leave the US online TV company during the first quarter – a month after Disney, News Corp and Comcast purchased Providence Equity Partners’ 10% stake in the company for US$200 million, valuing it at about US$2billion.Reports at the time suggested that Kilar has been under pressure to focus more on profitability at a time when content costs have been rising thanks to competition from Netflix and others.Forssell joined Hulu in 2007 and helped grow the firm from just two content partners to more than 450 today, logging revenue of US$700m last year.“Andy exemplifies the Hulu culture and has been central to Hulu’s journey,” said Kilar. “He’s been a critical senior executive and has been here from the start of this great adventure.”
Neelie KroesEU vice-president Neelie Kroes has firmed up her proposals for a single market in telecom services and reiterated that a package will be introduced in September. Kroes said that the economic boost from a single telecommunications market could be as high as €110 billion a year and that the broadband business could create two million jobs in Europe. She said action was need now and rejected the longer term option, proposed by French MEP Catherine Trautman, of a comprehensive review of the sector that she said could take up to five years to complete.Speaking at an ITRE committee meeting in the European parliament, Kroes said that it is essential that operators should be able to operate anywhere in Europe within an EU-wide framework of rules.“It must be easier to communicate across borders. Without operators facing a tangle of different, incompatible rules. If you’re allowed to operate anywhere in Europe – authorised within an EU framework — then you should be able to operate everywhere in the EU,” said Kroes. “And I don’t just mean ‘possible’: but straightforward in practice. Like a single authorisation system with supervision by the home member state.”She said it was important to develop consistent ways for service providers to access fixed networks by standardizing ‘virtual bitstream’-type products and guaranteeing quality for interconnection services. Spectrum bands also need more consistent licence conditions, she said, with harmonisation of spectrum allocation across the EU.Kroes said the package would include a guarantee of network neutrality. “Blocking or throttling services isn’t just unfair and annoying for users – it’s a death sentence for innovators too. So I will guarantee net neutrality. With more transparency, so you know what’s in your contract. Making it easier to switch providers. Allowing the new premium services which so many new services rely on – from cloud computing to eHealth. And I will end anticompetitive blocking and throttling, for every citizen, on every network, on every device. Internet growth depends on openness and innovation: I will provide an absolute safeguard,” she said.Kroes also reiterated her commitment to bring roaming charges to an end, stating that European calls should not count as costly “international calls”. However, she said that the creation of the single market would itself end roaming surcharges by bringing competitive pressure of operators to bring down prices.
Yahoo! CEO Marissa MayerYahoo! is reportedly planning to take on the likes of Netflix and Amazon by acquiring original, high-end, “TV-calibre” video content.According to a Wall Street Journal report, which cites people briefed on the plans, Yahoo! is close to ordering four web series – 10-episode, half hour comedies, with per-episode budgets ranging from US$700,000 to a few million dollars.The WSJ claims that the projects under consideration would be helmed by writers or directors with TV experience, and mark a shift from Yahoo!’s previous focus on short-form original web series.Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer reportedly aims to show off TV-quality content at its advertiser-focused NewFront event in April. The firm has not commented on the reports.Last year, Yahoo! UK launched a new short form animated series, called Yes Ma’am, based on the spoof royal family @Queen Twitter feed, as well as a five-part original series called Boris Johnson’s Guide to London.Last August, the firm also appointed former Channel 5, ITV and RTL executive Dawn Airey as senior, VP, EMEA.
Leonid Belyaev, CEO PlayRussian OTT service provider Play plans to introduce a 4K service later this year, focusing initially on an electronic sell-through model, according to Leonid Belyaev, CEO. The OTT operator also plans to unveil a new linear channel-based offering next month and to launch a premium offering to international markets, possibly next year.Speaking on the sidelines of the Digital TV CEE conference in Budapest this morning, Belyaev told DTVE that Play was in the final stages of negotiations to secure content rights for the 4K service from Hollywood studios.He said that the service, which will offer first-run Hollywood movies, would require additional security measures. Belyaev said that Play was well-served in this case by its focus on smart TVs as its primary distribution channel, as these platforms are inherently more secure that other devices that may, for example, require HDMI connectivity to deliver the content to the TV screen.The service will be launched in the third or fourth quarter. One key issue currently is the lack of availability of 4K content. Belyaev said Play “wants to be able to tell people to buy a new 4K TV”. He said the bandwidth requirement would be between 15-25Mbps. “This willstart in big cities where optical fibre networks are available for a reasonable price,” he said. The 4K TV service will be delivered via adaptive bit-rate streaming, encoded in HEVC.Belyaev said he believed 4K would deliver a premium of 30-40% per title on the existing service. Play will focus on electronic sell-through initially, a model it has already implemented for its existing catalogue. “We’ve done EST from the inception. It’s surprisingly popular because people associate it with owning DVDs. Renting on the other hand was never very big in Russia,” he said.Content will be stored in Play’s proprietary – but UltraViolet-compatible – digital locker, Belyaev said.Belyaev said that Play is looking at international expansion, possibly starting next year, focusing on a premium, niche offering for the European market. “We are looking at international expansion next year, starting in Europe,” he said. “We can test our belief in smart TV and see how it resonates.”Belyaev said Play would look at transactional rather than subscription-based services internationally. “We don’t believe in the SVOD model for the long run. Rights are getting more expensive everywhere, but that’s not necessarily the case with transactional rights.”Belyaev said Play would also unveil a new linear channel-based service on July 15. “It will be a linear TV service, but not a traditional linear service, and it will have a new brand,” he said.Play has about five million registered users in Russia, of whom about 300,000 pay for services. In addition to its transactional offering, it provides a RUB500 a month subscription service, with the ability to pay for transactional content on top. About 90% of users access the service via smart TVs.
Vodafone-owned German cable operator Kabel Deutschland saw strong growth in both broadband and premium TV subscribers in the year to June.The operator had 15.1 million revenue generating units sold at the end of June, up 4.8% year-on-year. Internet and phone subscriptions were up by 664,000 year on year to 4.5 million, while premium TV subscriptions including pay TV and DVR services grew by 278,000 in the year to June to reach 2.4 million. Growth during the quarter amounted to 74,000 subscriptions.Kabel Deutschland posted quarterly revenues of €491 million, up 5.8% year-on-year. ARPU grew by 6.9% to €17.86, with customers taking an average of 1.81 products each, up from 1.71 in 2013.Adjusted EBITDA was up 4.1% to €226 million.
Irish language broadcaster TG4 has launched a new smart TV app, available on the Samsung, Philips, Opera TV, Sony, Foxxum, Toshiba and Google TV platforms. The apps have also been submitted for the LG and Panasonic smart TV portals.According to TG4, the move marks the completion of a three-phase digital content distribution strategy. TG4 technical director Neil Keaveney said the smart TV app is “another reflection of TG4’s agility and commitment to adapting to new technologies to deliver the channel’s quality content to the audience”.TG4 has also released an updated and enhanced version of the TG4 Web-based Player, available through the browser on any device from the tg4.tv portal. The upgrade makes it possible for users to create their own personal playlist and will offer a continuous live stream of TG4 content worldwide, according to the broadcaster, with any rights-restricted content in the user’s region being replaced by non-restricted TG4 content.Finally, the broadcaster has released an updated and enhanced version of the TG4 Player app for iPad. This will be available free to download from the App store, worldwide, and will include access to the TG4 live stream as well as a catch up service for TG4 audiences. The TG4 player App is in addition to the seven existing Irish language apps developed by TG4 for kids.“It is important that Irish language content is accessible to audiences worldwide, and our new services ensure TG4 programmes are available around the globe. It also ensures our home audiences can catch up or watch live any time, any place, across all major devices,” said TG4 head of output Lís Ní Dhálaigh.
Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Czech Republic is to add film channel Barrandov Plus in both HD and SD to its programming line-up on June 1. The HD service will be available to Horizon customers, while the SD version of Barrandov Plus will be available to all subscribers including those with older set-top boxes.
US smart TV app provider, Samba TV, has acquired Warsaw, Poland-based recommendations specialist Filmaster.Samba TV, which is based in San Francisco, said that it will use Filmaster’s recommendation engine in its smart TV applications and that it has already begun deploying the technology.It added that the deal now represents its biggest office in Europe, with Warsaw to be Samba TV’s primary product development group for European-focused products.Filmaster is a software company specialising in recommendation engines, built on its own proprietary artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms.Its technology will be deployed by Samba TV to help viewers quickly find content they are likely to enjoy based on past viewing behavior.Filmaster is backed by German venture capital firm HackFwd and HardGamma Ventures in Poland.Samba TV already has operations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Tokyo and Taipei.
Steve MoskoSteve Mosko has been upped to chairman, Sony Pictures Television, kicking off a restructure of its management teams in EMEA, Asia and Canada.The new role see Mosko elevated from president to chairman of SPT, the studio’s TV production, distribution and channels division. He will continue to report to Sony’s overall entertainment boss, Michael Lynton, who said: “Under Steve’s leadership, Sony Pictures Television has become the industry’s largest independent television studio.”He added: “Our media networks business has expanded to over 150 channel feeds around the world and the company is well-positioned for growth in both production and distribution. Steve is a remarkable executive and we are proud to have him at the helm of Sony Pictures Television.”Sony has shifted emphasis from movies to higher margin TV and channels activities, with Mosko credited for the strong performance of SPT. Its recent TV hits include Breaking Bad and The Blacklist.Mosko, who has been at Sony since 1992, said: “I am honored to be named Chairman, and grateful to Michael, my colleagues at Sony Pictures, and to the incredible team at Sony Pictures Television, whose hard work and dedication has built the successful global business we have today.Mosko’s new role has heralded a raft of promotions and changes within the SPT management ranks. The Sony TV chief told DTVE‘s sister title, TBI, about his plans for SPT last year.Separately, Mike Wald, executive VP, international distribution, will return to LA from London. From SPT’s Culver City base he will run TV and movie sales to free and pay TV.Angel Orengo will move from Hong Kong to SPT’s London office and will manage the studio’s EMEA sales efforts as executive VP, international distribution.The Asian content sales effort will be headed by Robert Lanier, who, as senior VP, international distribution, Asia Pacific,will cover Australia, New Zealand and Japan from SPT’s Sydney office.Based in Hong Kong, Ken Lo, senior vice president of international distribution, Asia-Pacific, will oversee China, India, Korea and Southeast Asia. Both Lanier and Lo will report to Wald.Elsewhere, SPT’s Lat-Am sales boss, Alexander Marin, has been given additional responsibility for Canada. There are no new hires or departures as part of the management rejig.Wald and Orengo report to SPT’s president, international distribution, Keith LeGoy. He said: “These appointments not only allow [the executives] to bring their learning and expertise to different markets, but also underscore our commitment to developing and providing opportunities for our executives who excel.”