Mi mayor preocupación es por el futuro de las redes sociales y quienes tan sólo las conciben para dañar o amedrentar. #LauraVsBaldi 2/2— Laura Chinchilla M. (@Laura_Ch) July 21, 2014 “Even though the ruling was not favorable to us and I don’t agree with it, the trial demonstrated that it was NOT true what [Baldi] wrote and published about me,” Chinchilla tweeted.In a second tweet, she said, “My greater worry is for the future of social networks and those who only conceive of them to harm or intimidate.” Aunque el falló no nos resultó favorable y no lo comparto,el juicio demostró q NO era verdad lo q se escribió y publicó en mi contra.1/2— Laura Chinchilla M. (@Laura_Ch) July 21, 2014 A three-judge criminal court in San José on Monday tossed out a defamation lawsuit brought by ex-President Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014) against a hotel owner who accused her on Facebook of misusing her public office for personal gain. While the court ruled in favor of the defendant, freedom of expression experts said the preliminary ruling does not necessarily signal a free-for-all when it comes to criticizing public officials.Judges Carmen María Peraza Segura, María de los Angeles Arana Rojas and Max Antonio Escalante Quirós unanimously absolved Alberto Rodríguez Baldi of the crime of defamation, which could have carried a fine of ₡100 million, some $185,000. After a week of testimony, the panel decided that there was insufficient evidence to continue with the hearing.The former Costa Rican president sued hotelier Baldi in June 2013 for defamation based on a Facebook post alleging Chinchilla illicitly benefitted from her public office in order to buy millions of dollars worth of land in Puntarenas and Guanacaste’s Nicoya Peninsula, supposedly slated for a wind power development project.Fittingly, both sides took to social media to voice their opinions of the decision. Baldi posted on Facebook:Infinite thanks to all the Costa Ricans who sent messages of support, which of the hundreds I was unfortunately unable to respond to individually, but in my heart in and my family, my undying thanks to the country’s solidarity. …I invite all citizens to denounce all examples of corruption and that we show that we are not afraid of influence peddlers, of those who abuse their power, and white-collar criminals.We express our outrage at the opacity of the Prosecutor of White-Collar Crimes, and we show with our individual actions that we do not need politicians to save the homeland, because Costa Rica saves itself with each of its children.Chinchilla responded on Twitter: From the documents provided to The Tico Times by the court Monday, it was not possible to verify whether or not Baldi’s allegations were true.Freedom of expression experts agreed that the case had the potential to set a precedent for the limits of freedom of expression on social media in Costa Rica. While the ruling erred on the side of greater expression, experts stressed that there are limits to freedom of expression.Alejandro Delgado, president of the Press and Freedom of Expression Institute, told The Tico Times that the decision suggested a greater tolerance for freedom of expression, adding that “public officials must have a greater tolerance for criticism when it is truly a critique and not defamation.”“This decision does not give license to anyone to use social networks to disrespect other people, much less public officials,” Marlon Mora, president of the Costa Rican Journalists’ Association, told The Tico Times. “Freedom of expression should never be used as a shield to defame someone.”Both experts agreed that the preliminary ruling suggested that speech on social networks carries the same protections and responsibilities as any other media.Baldi still faces another lawsuit from former Public Works and Transport Minister Pedro Castro. Chinchilla’s lawyer has said they plan to appeal the decision.The court’s full ruling will be made public on Wednesday, July 23. Facebook Comments Related posts:Explainer: Why is Costa Rica’s former President Laura Chinchilla suing a hotelier over a Facebook post? Talk of ‘Yankee imperialism’ rankles US Embassy in San José Violence against women in the age of new technology Will we finally be able to dislike something on Facebook?
February 14, 2013 412 Views in Data, Origination Fixed mortgage rates continued to hold steady this week, according to data from “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ and “”Bankrate.com””:http://www.bankrate.com/.[IMAGE]Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending February 14 showed no weekly changes in fixed rates: The 30-year fixed averaged 3.53 percent (0.8 point), while the 15-year average held at 2.77 percent (0.8 point).While fixed rates were unchanged, adjustable rates saw slight upward momentum. The 5-year adjustable-rate [COLUMN_BREAK]mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.64 percent (0.6 point) this week, up from 2.63 percent previously. The 1-year ARM averaged 2.61 percent (0.3 point), up from 2.53 percent.””Mortgage rates remain near record lows and continue to support housing demand, translating into a pick-up in home prices in most markets,”” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac. “”The median sales price of existing homes “”rose 10 percent””:https://themreport.com/articles/nar-end-of-2012-sees-gains-in-prices-sales-affordability-2013-02-11 between fourth quarter 2011 and 2012, the largest year-over-year gain in seven years. Among large metropolitan areas, 88 percent saw positive annual increases in the fourth quarter, compared to 81 percent in the third quarter and 75 percent in the second.””Meanwhile, Bankrate reported slight increases in fixed rates, though any movement was minor.According to Bankrate’s weekly survey, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) had a rate of 3.79 percent (up from 3.76 percent previously), while the 15-year FRM rate averaged 3.02 percent, up from an even 3.00 percent.Adjustable rates fell slightly, with the 5/1 rate averaging 2.75 percent–down a single basis point from last week. Share Mortgage Rates Find Solid Ground Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bankrate Freddie Mac Home Prices Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates National Association of Realtors Service Providers 2013-02-14 Tory Barringer
FT. LAUDERDALE, FL — The Sacks Group Yachting Professionals announced they will be at their usual location for this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – A Dock / Dock 1 at Las Olas Marina. At press time, the following yachts had been confirmed as a part of The Sacks Group display: M/Y TOUCH – a 120′ custom motor yacht built in 2004 available for charter with The Sacks Group Yachting Professionals; M/Y QUIVIRA – a 116′ Tri Deck Classic Motor Yacht for sale and charter with The Sacks Group; M/Y LADY DI – a spacious 1998 84′ Monte Fino Custom Motor Yacht listed for sale by The Sacks Group; M/Y GOOSE BUMPS — a 2007 78′ Hargraves Custom Yacht listed for sale with The Sacks Group; and M/Y HEAVEN CAN WAIT, a 1985 Cheoy Lee, 66′ in length, for sale with The Sacks Group Yachting Professionals.Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine, will be on the high seas as one of The Sacks Group’s partners at the upcoming Show. Elite Traveler will once again use M/Y JAVA, a 121′ Broward, (for sale and charter) as their hospitality yacht for the duration of the Show.“We’re looking forward to this year’s Boat Show in Fort Lauderdale,” Jennifer M. Saia, President and Charter Specialist said. “Over the past year, we have expanded our marketing efforts and will be looking forward to meeting some new clients as well as spending time with many of our repeat customers.”Contact:954) 764-7742 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lizzy IoannidouRenewed indefinite strike measures were launched on Friday by Paphos public transport company (Osypa) employees, after the company’s failure to pay November salaries, despite government promises on Tuesday that a solution would be found this week.Once again, thousands of students, pensioners, workers and tourists were affected, “but responsibility does not lie with the drivers,” their representative Christos Evangelou said.Misunderstanding has been an enduring issue for the past eight years between the ministry and the company, Evangelou said, but it is the workers who have been left unpaid for November, and will very likely remain without their December and 13th salaries as well.“The differences are between the ministry and the company and we are always in the middle,” Evangelou said, adding that no one is willing to work for free.Evangelou called on the ministry to renew efforts with the company so that a solution can be found, because if not, Paphos risks remaining without public transport, he said.If a solution is not found until Monday, Evangelou added, Osypa employees will resort to an escalation of measures outside the presidential palace.Meanwhile, the transport ministry told state broadcaster Cybc on Friday that it is drawing up a plan B to resolve all of the issues.The ministry’s plan is to provide alternative buses for public transport, with the transportation of students to school being a priority task, said the director general of the transport ministry, Stavros Michael.“We are willing to give Osypa one more opportunity for dialogue, but if a solution is not found in the next few days, we will have to move forward with plan B,” Michael said.Osypa CEO Constantinos Ioannides explained on Cybc on Friday that initially the company had officially requested the ministry draw up a new independent arbitration committee, suggesting that this committee be chaired a former judge of the supreme court.Ioannides said that this was rejected by the ministry, which requested that head-to-head discussions be launched between the two parties without mediators, a proposal which was then rejected by Osypa which asserted that this would not bring about fair results, and maintained that differences needed to be settled either through arbitration or court proceedings.Strike measures were launched by three out of the six bus companies on Monday in protest against not receiving their November salaries.Deliberations between the transport ministry and the bus companies of Larnaca and Limassol quickly reached an agreement with the government signing off on Monday on financial contributions allowing the companies to pay their employees who in turn called off strike measures.Osypa employees remained unyielding until Wednesday, when they returned to work after receiving government promises that a solution to the company’s problems will be found within the week.Friday’s renewal of strike measures comes after Osypa’s inability to come to an agreement with the ministry.Last March, the transport ministry said that all bus companies had received overpayments. The biggest chunk of overpayments made resulting from setting high the cost per kilometre for which the companies receive a government subsidy, was between 2010 and 2014.Bus companies were unable to pay salaries on time after the government announced that they must reclaim the money owed by the bus companies following a ruling of an independent arbitration committee that was tasked about a year ago to weigh in on the matter.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoSecurity SaversWindows Users Advised To Do This TodaySecurity SaversUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: Glenn News,Glenn Photos 18Mar Glenn encourages students, parents to consider Youth ChalleNGe Academy Michigan National Guard program helps with high-school GED(Left to right): Kay Carter, Rep. Gary Glenn, Cadet Executive Officer Sousha Carlevaris-Bianco, Kay’s son Cadet Cpl. Andrew Carter, and Cadet Cpl. Lujuan Grigsby II, all of Midland.State Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland encourages local teens aged 16-18 who have dropped out or been expelled from school and their parents to consider a free program administered by the Michigan National Guard that helps students earn a high-school degree and college credits.The next Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy (MYCA) at Fort Custer in Battle Creek begins July 2015, and while there are orientations scheduled throughout the state during the next three months, a session in the Bay City Armory, 2510 Wilder Road in Bay City, is coming up April 11.Rep. Glenn learned firsthand about the MYCA during a winter meeting at the state Capitol in Lansing with three Midland youths — Cadet Executive Officer Sousha Carlevaris-Bianco, Cadet Cpl. Andrew Carter and Cadet Cpl. Lujuan Grigsby II.“I’m proud of Sousha, Andrew and Lujuan for overcoming past challenges and committing themselves to learning the self-discipline and job skills necessary to succeed in life,” said Glenn, who served eight years with the U.S. Army Reserves and Army National Guard, including the 1460th Transportation Company in Midland. “They need our encouragement and support, and the Michigan National Guard deserves our gratitude for helping these Midland youths, and others like them across the state, turn their lives around.”Carter’s mother, Kay Carter, also of Midland, called MYCA “an amazing military-type academic program (that) has changed the course of his life through very hard work and determination.”“Not everyone makes it to the end of this program, but Andrew did!” she said. “We are so very proud of our son. He has accomplished many goals while at the academy. He has matured, found self-esteem and pride for what he has overcome and what he has accomplished. He leaves with a plan for his future and over the next year will work closely with two wonderful mentors. We thank God for opening the doors for him to attend MYCA and answering many prayers for our son.”MYCA is paid for by the U.S. Department of Defense and the state of Michigan and administered by the Michigan National Guard. Meals, housing, and uniforms are provided at no cost to the cadets or their families, and there is no military obligation for participants.The academy features an 18-month, two-phase program focused on self-discipline and jobs skills, which encourages physical, mental and moral development, with participants receiving more than 800 hours of classroom instruction and 160 hours of vocational-technical training, to earn a high school GED and up to 21 college credits. Along with taking part in daily physical training to develop good health, nutrition, hygiene habits and life-coping skills, the youths also perform over 40 hours of community service and conservation activities.Additionally, the youths put together a life plan that they work to execute with help from an assigned mentor in their community.Those eligible to apply are male and female high school dropouts or potential dropouts aged 16-18 who are U.S. citizens or legal residents of the U.S. and the state of Michigan, who have not been convicted of a felony and are not currently on parole or probation for anything other than juvenile-status offenses. Applicants must be drug-free and will be tested.Complete applications are not required to attend an orientation session, but priority consideration is given. More information is available by calling 800-372-0523 or online at MIYCP.org.To contact Rep. Glenn, call toll free at 1-855-GLENN98; email at GaryGlenn@house.mi.gov; go to his website, RepGaryGlenn.com; or send mail to Anderson House Office Building, S-1287, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909.
State Rep. Lee Chatfield invites residents of the 107th House District to join him during local office hours for the month of July.“Traveling across my district every week and consistently holding monthly office hours in every county has allowed me to stay accessible to the people I represent. While maintaining this kind of demanding schedule can be challenging at times, I am committed to keeping in touch with residents and the local issues of concern,” said Rep. Chatfield, R-Levering.His July office hours schedule is:Tuesday, July 7thEmmet County Parks Place Café 2495 U.S. 31 in Conway 9-10:30 a.m.Cheboygan County State Street Coffee 211 West State Street in Cheboygan 12-1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9thChippewa County Willabee’s Restaurant 9915 West 6 Mile Road in Brimley 9-10:30 a.m.Mackinac County Java Joe’s 959 North State Street in St. Ignace 2-3:30 p.m.No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend. Anyone unable to attend may contact Rep. Chatfield’s office by calling (517) 373-2629, via email at email@example.com or through his website at www.RepChatfield.com. 02Jul Rep. Chatfield announces July office hours Categories: Chatfield News
Categories: News,Webber News 16Feb Rep. Webber’s bill increases campaign finance violations penalty State Rep. Michael Webber has introduced legislation to improve government transparency by increasing the penalty for violating the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.Webber, of Rochester Hills, said the bill increases the fine for violating campaign finance laws from $1,000 to $3,000. He said the bill’s intent is to boost accountability by showing who is funding elections in Michigan.“The laws are very clear about when reports are due, what information must be in the reports and where the information must be sent,” Webber said. “I believe this legislation will bring past violations into compliance and curb future violations by increasing the penalty for ignoring the law.”The bill was referred to the House Elections and Ethics Committee.#####The measure is House Bill 4216.
Reps. Marino, Yaroch: Bucci should resign or be removed from officeState Reps. Steve Marino and Jeff Yaroch today sent Gov. Rick Snyder letters calling on him to exercise his authority to remove a Macomb Township trustee from office.Rep. Marino said Trustee Dino Bucci has exhibited corrupt conduct in office and gross neglect of duty, both of which the governor can use as grounds for his removal under the Michigan Constitution.“Dino Bucci’s actions while serving as both a township trustee and public servant in the Macomb County Department of Public Works are disgraceful and unacceptable,” Marino said. “Even more shameful is the fact that he continues to receive cadillac health benefits, collect a salary, and hold his title while skipping meetings and avoiding all other official responsibilities.”Rep. Yaroch said: “Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller has relieved Mr. Bucci of his duties at the Macomb County Works office, which is rebuilding the trust of Macomb County in that department. It is time for Gov. Snyder to do the same to rebuild the trust of our citizens in their government.”Bucci was indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2017 on eighteen counts of conspiracy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, mail fraud and money laundering. The charges are in connection with public contracts in Macomb Township and the Macomb County Department of Public Works, where he worked until 2017.“Trustee Bucci has clearly lost the trust and confidence of both his colleagues and the public,” Marino said. “If he won’t resign, it’s time for Gov. Snyder to exercise the authority granted to him by the state constitution and allow our community to begin the healing process.”The legislators, who each represent a portion of Macomb Township in the Michigan House, also sent letters to the Attorney General’s Office requesting a formal opinion clarifying the governor’s authority to remove Bucci from office.### 18Apr State representatives call on governor to remove Macomb Township trustee Categories: Yaroch News
30May Three Macomb County representatives lead Michigan House plan to help Kiwanis fundraising The state House today approved plans from three Macomb County state representatives to expand fundraising options for Kiwanis organizations in Michigan.Bills sponsored by Reps. Diana Farrington and Steve Marino would allow Michigan residents to voluntarily donate to the Kiwanis when they file their state income taxes. Legislation from Rep. Peter Lucido would create a fundraising license plate for the charitable organization.“I’ve been with the Kiwanis for several years, now as a member of the Golden K, which helps seniors,” said Lucido, of Shelby Township. “It’s been a privilege to see what a positive difference the group makes for kids, families and especially our seniors in our neighborhoods.”Lucido’s bill would allow motorists to buy and display a fundraising license plate with the accompanying donation going to a new Kiwanis International Michigan District Fund.The legislation from Marino and Farrington would add the Kiwanis to the list of charities Michigan residents can voluntarily contribute to through an income tax form checkoff.“In our part of Macomb County alone, Kiwanis raise money for college scholarships, put together backpacks with school supplies, help feed the hungry and improve the community in many other ways,” said Farrington, of Utica, who has worked on Kiwanis holiday food drives. “It’s a fantastic mission.”Marino noted thousands of Michigan residents use similar checkoff options to make charitable donations while filing their taxes each year.“The Kiwanis are focused on helping children and families while encouraging community service – exactly the kind of effort we should support,” said Marino, of Harrison Township. “This is a great addition to the lineup of worthy charities on our list.”The legislation – House Bills 4495, 5739 and 5740 – advance to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: Marino News,News
Share9TweetShareEmail9 SharesMarch 16, 2016; The AtlanticTry to follow us here. The Department of Justice is expected to withdraw the suit it filed against the city of Ferguson after the City Council, which had in February reneged on an agreement meant to reform the police and courts in that city, reversed itself on Tuesday night and voted to accept the conditions. The vote on Tuesday was unanimous, as was the original vote to reject the agreement it had negotiated with the DOJ.As readers will recall, Ferguson, Missouri, became the focus of an investigation by the Department of Justice after Michael Brown was shot by police and the town erupted in protest.The reforms are aimed at ending racially discriminatory policing, but also at a system of revenue generation that preyed on poor residents through a system of escalating fines that often ended in imprisonment. The DOJ report on which the rejected agreement was based found, among other things, that African Americans were overwhelmingly the victims in excessive force incidents and that the courts and police cooperated in criminal justice practices that acted as a moneymaking venture for the city. From the DOJ report:Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs. This emphasis on revenue has compromised the institutional character of Ferguson’s police department, contributing to a pattern of unconstitutional policing, and has also shaped its municipal court, leading to procedures that raise due process concerns and inflict unnecessary harm on members of the Ferguson community. Further, Ferguson’s police and municipal court practices both reflect and exacerbate existing racial bias, including racial stereotypes. Ferguson’s own data establish clear racial disparities that adversely impact African Americans. The evidence shows that discriminatory intent is part of the reason for these disparities.About the court-based practices, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, “These violations were not only egregious, they were routine. They were encouraged by the city in the interest of raising revenue…They were driven, at least in part, by racial bias and they occurred disproportionately against African American residents of Ferguson.”The city originally rejected the agreement due to the costs associated with implementation, which were estimated at nearly $7 million. The Justice Department then, as expected and promised, filed its lawsuit, which would have cost nearly as much in legal fees.—Ruth McCambridgeShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares
Share309TweetShareEmail309 SharesSeptember 26, 2018; Washington PostNPQ is continuing to follow the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). There are now individuals, employed by nonprofits and government, who have made the required ten years of steady payments, with no late payments, and filed the paperwork to be forgiven the balance of their student loans.In the past, NPQ has stressed the importance of filing the paperwork correctly and completely. However, in the more than 10 years since PSLF began in 2007, the Education Department never supplied comprehensive written instructions to the company contracted to handle the program, according to an audit performed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO’s findings show that very few lucky individuals have had their debts cancelled.Of the 1.1 million who applied to certify their employment, nearly 900,000 were accepted. Of these, close to 20,000 submitted the completed forgiveness application, but to date, the GAO found just 55 have had their loans cancelled. (The Education Department recently updated the number of loans forgiven to 96.) The average amount of debt cancelled is $58,000 per person. The highest amount was almost $290,000.Nonprofits need these college graduates, from social workers to business majors, baccalaureates to doctorates degrees are critical to providing critical services in our communities and making positive changes in the world. Unfortunately, nonprofits do not pay what the business world might; the PSLF piece is part of the benefits package.“The GAO report makes clear that the Trump administration’s failure to faithfully implement the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is causing widespread confusion and uncertainty for public servants,” said Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA). “Despite the administration’s consistent hostility toward this popular program, it is still obligated to ensure that teachers, social workers, first responders and others who enter a career in public service are granted the debt forgiveness as federal law requires.”In 2016, the American Bar Association (ABA) brought suit against the Department of Education for retroactively removing employers from the program That lawsuit continues.Payment on the student loans is typically ten percent of an individual’s monthly income. Participants receive notice that the approval letters, issued by FedLoan Servicing, are not binding and can be rescinded. That creates little confidence from the start that the government will honor its commitment to those graduates working for them, as well as nonprofits. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of individuals in the program meet their obligations and make their payments.—Marian ConwayDisclosure: Marian Conway has been enrolled in the PSLF program for nearly four years.Share309TweetShareEmail309 Shares
Deutsche Telekom has chosen semiconductor manufacturer Celeno to help it deliver IPTV wirelessly around the home.The telco has selected Celeno’s CL1820 Wi-Fi chip and OptimizAIR technology to power its Speedport W 102 Bridge.The Speedport W 102 Bridge will enable Deutsche Telekom to distribute its Entertain IPTV service wirelessly throughout the home to consumers in Germany.The Speedport W 102 Bridge enables consumers to self install their media receiver DVR. The unit also provides consumers with the ability to place their set-tops and TVs anywhere in the home and watch time-shifted content recorded on a master DVR from any receiver in their home. Subscribers using the Speedport W 102 Bridge can expand their network to up to four video adapters in their home.“Celeno’s optimized Wi-Fi technology far exceeds that of conventional Wi-Fi, which is merely designed for internet surfing,” said Ulrich Grote, vice-president terminal management fixed line, Deutsche Telekom. “Celeno’s solution not only allows for flawless HD video streaming, it also enables multi-room DVR with the high quality of experience our consumers demand.”
Hungary’s Office of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) has estimated that the country was home to 3.2 million TV subscriber households at the end of November.The number is based on the figures that show the country’s top 12 service providers had 2.8 million TV subs between them. By the end of the month, the operators had attracted 1.6 million digital TV subs, representing 57.8% of total customers. That number is up from 57.6% a year earlier. The number of digital cable and IPTV subscribers was up to 677,000 from 662,000 the previous month, while digital DTH services were taken by 909,000 customers and 42,000 took DTT services from Antenna Hungary.UPC was the market leader in November, with a market share of 26.1%, followed by DIGI with a 23% share and T-Home with 22.2%.
Polish pay TV platform ‘n’, which is being merged with rival offering Cyfra Plus, had 929,000 post-paid subscribers at the end of last year, 71,000 up on the previous quarter. Pre-paid pay TV customers grew by 7% to reach 345,000, including 79,000 HD customers.The pay TV platform turned in revenues of PLN198 million (€47.2 million) for the fourth quarter, up 20% on a comparable basis. Full year pay TV revenue was PLN739 million, up 21%. Overall revenue for the quarter on a comparable basis was PLN777 million, up 3% and EBITDA was PLN213 million. ‘n’ achieved full-year positive EBITDA for the full year in line with parent company TVN’s guidance.Reported revenue excluding ‘n’ was down PLN7 million year-on-year for the quarter, reflecting the unfavourable advertising market.TVN recognised a PLN1 billion impairment charge on its investment in ‘n’ holding company ITI Neovision as a result of the conclusion of its pay TV merger agreement with Canal Plus Group in December.“TVN Group successfully met its targets for 2011, with performance reflecting market volatility in the advertising driven part of operations and strong development of pay TV business ahead of consolidation of satellite TV space,” said TVN Group CEO Markus Tellenbach. On pay TV, Tellenbach said: “The Group has also achieved its strategic objective – participation in the digital satellite pay TV consolidation and securing distribution of its content through significant stake in the merged ‘n’ and Cyfra Plus platform. The announced merger with Cyfra Plus combined with the strategic partnership with TP Group set TVN Group’s shareholders in a very strong position to participate in benefits from creating the leading premium satellite pay TV operator in Poland. Further enhanced by access to the largest in the country set of telecom services and wide spread sales network of TP Group, TVN will significantly improve its risk profile reducing exposure to capital expenditures.”Tellenbach said the outlook for the current year remained uncertain, but that he believed volatility would prevail temporarily. He said the company was likely to benefit from an improving position of the Polish złoty on the financial exchange markets going forwards.
The Society for Broadband Professionals (SCTE) has opened its 2013 Technological Innovation Awards and Individual Achievement Awards for nominations.The awards, which recognise the achievements of companies and individuals in the broadband arena, will be presented during the SCTE Gala Dinner on March 23 2013 at Drapers’ Hall in London. Previous SCTE Technological Innovation Awards winners include Harmonic, RGB Networks, Technetix and Ineoquest.
Liberty Global has paid roughly €632.5 million for a 12.65% stake in the Netherlands’ largest cable operator Ziggo. Through the deal, Liberty has acquired 25.3 million Ziggo shares from Barclays Capital Securities for €25.00 per share, giving it an almost 13% stake based on the shares outstanding as of December 31, 2012.Commenting this morning, Liberty said that the acquisition was an “attractive opportunity” to make a strategic investment in a market where it already has a strong presence through its UPC Netherlands subsidiary.“The purchase price is also financially attractive given the stock’s approximate 7.4% dividend yield, which is implied by Ziggo’s expectation that it will pay €370 million of dividends during 2013,” the firm said.The deal comes just days after Barclays inadvertently acquired a 14.2% stake in Ziggo after failing to find enough buyers for a block of shares it agreed to underwrite.Private equity owners Cinven and Warburg Pincus moved last week to sell 40 million shares in the operator, the equivalent of a 20% stake. However, the share sale, which was completed on March 19, left Barclays as Ziggo’s biggest shareholder after it failed to find enough buyers. Barclays had guaranteed the sale at €25.05 a share last week.Liberty is funding the acquisition with a non-recourse margin loan and existing liquidity, and does not require regulatory approval as it is taking a minority, not a controlling stake in Ziggo.The deal is Liberty’s latest of the year, after the firm agreed a blockbustert US$23.3 billion (€17.9 billion) buyout of Virgin Media in February.
On a global basis the average internet connection speed increased by 17% year-on-year in the second quarter, according to Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report.Content delivery network (CDN) provider Akamai said that the average global connection speed was 5.1Mbps in Q2, up 3.5% quarter-over-quarter, while the average speeds among the top 10 countries and regions all remained “well above 10 Mbps.”Global peak connection speeds increased to 32.5 Mbps on average, and increased in every top 10 country/region except Sweden, which remained unchanged from the first quarter at 62.8 Mbps, according to the study.Eight of the top 10 saw average peak speeds greater than 70 Mbps, while Singapore was the only country that saw a double-digit quarterly gain – a 12% increase to 108.3 Mbps.Other countries that ranked among the top 10 were Romania with speeds of 72.1 Mbps and Macao with an average of 62.6 Mbps.“We continued to see healthy increases in key connection speed metrics, particularly on a year-over-year basis. The improvement in connection speeds is vital as more content, not the least of which is video at increasingly higher levels of quality, is being delivered over the internet,” said David Belson, editor of the Akami report.Globally, 110 out of 144 qualifying countries/regions saw average connection speeds increase from the previous quarter, with growth rates ranging from a modest 0.4% in Senegal (1.5 Mbps) to a substantial 67% inTunisia (2.8 Mbps), according to the report.The study is based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform.
Virgin Media will start to contact customers about upgrading to ultrafast broadband this week, and announced that Vivid will be the new brand for web connections above 100Mbps.Virgin said it will start to explain how users can opt-in to an upgrade from October 1, 2015 and will let broadband customers go from existing speeds of up to 50Mbps, 100Mbps and 152Mbps to more powerful speeds of 70Mbps, Vivid 150Mbps and Vivid 200Mbps.Using DOCSIS 3.0 technology, Virgin claims that it will deploy the superior speeds in “record time” with 90% of customers being able to upgrade by the end of 2015.“Our message is simple: if you want to be certain that you are signing up to true ultrafast broadband speeds of 100Mbps and above, Vivid from Virgin Media is the new standard,” said Virgin Media’s managing director of consumer, Gregor McNeil.Earlier this month, Virgin committed £25 million (€34 million) to upgrade homes and businesses in Nottingham, enabling them to receive ultra-fast broadband services. In June it also began rolling out ultrafast broadband in Manchester in the first phase of its £3 billion broadband investment plan, dubbed Project Lightning.The news comes a day after Sky announced it was connecting its first customer to its new ultrafast fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband network in York in the UK.The rival UK operator said its ultrafast broadband customers will be able to receive broadband speeds of up to 940 Mbps, with Sky building the FTTH network in partnership with TalkTalk and CityFibre.
The European Commission’s competition authority has set a provisional July 19 deadline for ruling on Vodafone and Liberty Global’s Dutch merger.The Commission will opt to either approve the deal with or without conditions in the preliminary phase or open a full-scale investigation, according to Reuters.Vodafone and Liberty Global agreed in February to merge their operations in the Netherlands, forming a 50-50 joint venture that will combine Ziggo’s fibre broadband network with Vodafone’s mobile operations.The firms said that through the deal they will create a unified communications provider in the Netherlands – with complementary strengths across video, broadband, mobile and B2B services.The deal will bring together Liberty-owned Ziggo’s Horizon TV offering, 200 Mbps nationwide broadband internet and WiFi network, and Vodafone’s 4G mobile network, offering “superior connectivity and entertainment both in and outside the home”.The JV will operate under both the Vodafone and Ziggo brands and create a national operator with over 15 million revenue generating units – 4.2 million video, 3.2 million high‐speed broadband, 2.6 million fixed‐line telephony and 5.3 million mobile customers.
Eutelsat has agreed to sell its 70% stake in Wins Limited – a provider of broadband satellite communications and IT solutions for the maritime sector – to SpeedCast for roughly €60 million.Satellite communications and network service provider, Speedcast, said that Wins’ strong position in Europe will allow it to grow its business rapidly in the maritime space.Eutelsat said that selling Wins, which is held through its wholly-owned Skylogic subsidiary, is part of its strategy to streamline its asset portfolio to maximise free-cash-flow generation.“This acquisition is further affirmation of SpeedCast’s growth strategies, and is a significant milestone for us. Wins brings a strong local presence in Germany, a major maritime market, as well as expertise in the cruise industry in Europe, a fast growing user of satellite communications,” said SpeedCast CEO, Pierre-Jean Beylier.“Together,we are well poised to expand our network to support the growing demand of VSAT services in the maritime sector.”Wins CEO, Tony Mejlaq, said that joining Speedcast will give Wins access to new markets and the ability to deliver new service capabilities to its customers.“Our customers will benefit from the enhanced customer service network and world class infrastructure,” he said.Wins provides maritime connectivity services to passenger vessels in the Mediterranean region. Through its German subsidiary DH-Intercom it also provides L-band connectivity and VSAT solutions to merchant vessels.In total the company provides services to more than 100 passenger-carrying ships, such as cruise liners and ferries, and to more than 2,000 merchant shipping vessels.