Source = JNTO – Japan National Tourism Organisation JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards 2016 winners announcedThe results of the inaugural JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards are out and we take this opportunity to congratulate all participants who submitted an incentive tour.Of the entrants who qualified the panel of judges have awarded the 3 following outstanding incentive tours to Japan:Grand Prize “2015 Nan Sha Life Insurance Elite Summit in Hokkaido” organised by Lion Travel Service Co. (Taiwan)Planning Award “Chaumet – Hurry up for sales” organised by teamtravel premium GmbH (Germany)Contribution Award “MILLENNIUM ACHIEVERS TOUR” organised by JTB Australia Pty Ltd (Australia)Although the group size of JTB Australia’s incentive tour was smaller in comparison, it was chosen for the Contribution Award as it was able to showcase several locations in western Japan such as Okayama, Kobe, Naoshima and Tokushima. The participants were able to take part in local cultural activities such as an Awa-Odori folkdance and visited cultural landmarks such as the art island of Naoshima, all of which are memorable and uniquely Japanese experiences.Kumiko Hardy, General Manager of JTB Australia said,“Thank you so much for the award. We are particularly pleased as a lot of thought went into the planning of this tour. The clients were all experienced travellers and not interested in ordinary sightseeing on the golden routes. They wanted to have a real Japanese surprise! Joining in the local awa-odori was definitely a highlight for them all. An explosion of such happy energy! Laughter throughout the night and they unanimously agreed it was the best experience they have ever had. Memories of the tour are still vivid with us and now have been adorned with the honour of receiving this award. Thank you.”All prize winners will be invited to Japan (with complimentary business class airfares) to be presented the awards at the IME2016 26th International Meetings Expo held at PACIFICO YOKOHAMA on 7 December 2016. They will also have the opportunity to experience an incentive exploration tour of Tokyo.Once again we would like to take this opportunity to thank all submissions and the effort they have put into promoting incentive travel to Japan.JNTO Sydney Office
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Alex Marvez has covered the National Football League for 22 years as a beat writer (Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins) and national columnist (FOX, Sporting News). He also served as the president of the Professional Football Writers of America from 2007-2009.Arizona Sports caught up with the Sporting News NFL columnist and SiriusXM NFL Radio host on Wednesday at University of Phoenix Stadium — in the midst of his whirlwind training camp tour which has already stopped in Atlanta, Houston, Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles — to talk Cardinals, NFC West and Super Bowl projections. What encourages you about the Cardinals?Marvez: “They are one of the big-play teams in the NFL. They get chunk yards. They have receivers that go down (the field). The speed on this team is great. It’s one of the things that separates the Cardinals from everybody is the fact that they can score at any time.“With (safety) Tyrann Mathieu back, they’re an opportunistic defense. They give teams headaches. It’s as good a defense as any in the NFL.“With the things this team did last year, even though it’s a new season, there’s a lot of confidence here. You beat Seattle up in Seattle the way that you did, you got to the NFC Championship Game by winning against Green Bay. Those are great building blocks. Now you just have to be able to finish it off.”How much will signing outside linebacker Chandler Jones impact this team?Marvez: “The Chandler Jones addition was such a big one. Will it prove costly to the Cardinals if he ends up leaving in free agency? Sure, but again, it’s a second-round pick they gave up and there’s no guarantee that a second-round pick would have panned out as a pass rusher so I’m all for it. Giving up (guard) Jonathan Cooper was really no loss for this team. Unfortunately, it never came together for him in Arizona. “The question becomes, why would New England want to get rid of a player in his prime who is such a key part of their defense? Are their off-field concerns considering what happened with Chandler last January with the synthetic marijuana issue. And I hate to say it, but when you have his brother, Jon, having all sorts of legal problems, and when you have Arthur Jones, his other brother, serving a four-game suspension for PEDs, you start to wonder is this going to be three strikes and you’re out for the Jones family — in the NFL and in sports?Is there a less-discussed aspect of the Cardinals you think warrants attention?Marvez: “Markus Golden’s development at the other outside linebacker spot. They have two legitimate guys who can bring it, and if (defensive tackle) Robert Nkemdiche is able to get back on the field — Bruce Arians says he is hopeful he may be able to get some work in against the San Diego Chargers and play at least two preseason games — they are hoping that as the season goes on, he is able to provide some umph in the pass rush as well so you can stop sending all these crazy blitzes and putting so much stress on the secondary, especially with questions about that other spot at corner opposite Peterson.” Who are your six NFC playoff teams?Marvez: “The Washington Redskins will win the NFC East; not even close. The Minnesota Vikings will win the NFC North. I’m going with Carolina in the NFC South & Atlanta as a wild card. And in the NFC West, Arizona will win the division and Seattle will be a wild card.Who are your Super Bowl teams?Marvez: “I think the Vikings are going to the Super Bowl. They remind me a lot of the 2013 Seattle Seahawks: young quarterback, third-year guy but all he has to do is make a couple plays. Adrian Peterson in the backfield, their version of Marshawn Lynch, and a really good young defense. I think this group will be ready to play and I really like Mike Zimmer as a head coach.”Who will Minnesota play?Marvez: “The Patriots, of course. As (wrestler) Rick Flair would say, ‘to be the man you’ve got to beat the man.’ Who’s going to knock them off the perch in the AFC East? The Patriots almost always get that first-round bye, they’ve only lost once in the (coach Bill) Belichick era when playing at home after that first-round bye. It’s almost automatic that they’re in the AFC Championship game every year, and if they get to play it at home they don’t lose.” Top Stories Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter – / 20 Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The Cardinals believe QB Carson Palmer’s playing window is longer than originally anticipated. With that in mind, they signed Palmer and receiver Larry Fitzgerald to one-year extensions last week. Do you agree that the window has lengthened, and how long do you think Arizona has to win a Super Bowl?Marvez: “It’s a great question. Is it a one-year window? Is it a two-year window? In theory, you think Carson Palmer is playing great football now, but is he going to be the same at 37?“I talked to (coach) Bruce Arians about it. He said that when Carson came back from the ACL tear suffered in 2014 he was almost like a different athlete. He was in great shape and the rehab obviously paid dividends in a lot of different ways as far as him becoming physically stronger.“When I talked to Carson he said he feels 28, 29 years old, but we have to look at last season. Was it really the dislocated finger suffered against Philadelphia in Week 15 that led to his (playoff) demise or is this a player who got tired as the season went on and might be hard pressed to take a team deep into the postseason, a la Peyton Manning and the concerns about him the final few years of his NFL career?” Marvez: “Somebody opposite Patrick Peterson is going to get picked on. If they want to play Brandon Williams as a starter as a rookie — only his second year playing cornerback after he switched at Texas A&M — there may be a possibility that if you can’t pressure the quarterback, this guy is going to give up some big plays. Or is Justin Bethel truly a good enough corner to withstand people trying to avoid Patrick Peterson? Because that is how people are going to attack this Cardinals team.“On the offensive side of the football, probably out of all the starters, (right tackle) D.J. Humphries and (center) A.Q. Shipley are the most questionable. I say Shipley because he’s so small at 6-1, 300 pounds that there is a possibility he is going to get bull rushed by a much bigger player. And is he going to be able to get some push in the running game? Of course they have (fourth-round pick) Evan Boehm. Maybe he’s going to be ready at some point during the season and he’s a bigger bodied guy, but until then you’re playing with A.Q.“With Humphries, we haven’t seen him. All that gives you confidence is (guard) Evan Mathis saying how talented he could be and the Cardinals saying ‘look, this guy played at 288 pounds in college. He’s much bigger (307), much stronger now and he gets it. He’s hungry now. He wants to prove he’s good.’ We’re about to find out if they’re right.” “This line still has to come together a bit. That’s going to be an early-season challenge and Thomas Rawls has to get back in the swing of things and prove he’s an every-down type of marquee running back. It was a great flash from him (last season) but can he prove it over the long haul? And then I wonder how are the Seahawks going to integrate (tight end) Jimmy Graham into this offense?“Overall though, I think this defense is really stout and the Seahawks are a playoff team — by far the strongest contender to Arizona atop the division.”Has San Francisco hit rock bottom?Marvez: “I think they could go lower. They could get the No. 1 pick in the draft. They have some promising young players. They really do, and I think the rebuild may be a little bit quicker than some people expect, but you still have Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick at quarterback and I don’t know if (coach) Chip Kelly’s offense works. Are you going to have 34 minutes of a defense on the field and be able to succeed — especially a defense as thin as the 49ers’? That’s an awful lot to ask of this squad.“Behind Carlos Hyde, there’s really not very much at the running back position, and the wide receiver position is the same thing: Torrey Smith and a bunch of guys. WR Larry Fitzgerald goes in motion during training camp Aug. 10. (Photo by Adam Green) Critics suggest Palmer doesn’t perform well in the postseason, even though he has played in just over three games? Is that fair?Marvez: “We’ll never know what would have happened in 2005 when he was playing for Cincinnati against the Steelers and Kimo von Oelhoffen goes crashing into his knee on the first pass play, he tears his ACL and the Bengals go down the tubes. He made it back a couple years later, but no quarterback has won a playoff game for Cincinnati since Norman Julius Esiason — a.k.a. Boomer back in the day in 1990 — and the Raiders were obviously a bad team when Carson was there.“Carson wasn’t even on the field a couple years ago when the Cardinals made the playoffs and lost to Carolina so there isn’t much to judge him on. I think he can be a playoff performer and the thing about the Cardinals is, the supporting cast around him is so good. David Johnson and Chris Johnson are your running backs. Are you kidding me? If Chris Johnson is your backup running back, there’s a lot worse things that could be happening with your team, and I like the depth on this team as well.”What are your biggest concerns with the Cardinals? The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 0 Comments Share “They’re hurting real bad in San Francisco. They had a window of opportunity and it closed. They tried to extend it with (coach) Jim Tomsula for whatever reason and that was a disaster. I have a lot of questions about them but hey, who knows, maybe a great quarterback will be available in the 2017 Draft.”Looking at the NFL as a whole, Tom Brady’s four-game suspension will obviously help the Cardinals in Week 1, but do you think it will significantly impact the Patriots’ season?Marvez: “I don’t think it will matter for New England or Tom Brady missing those games. What I find interesting are long-haul, legacy type of things — how we look back at the situation and how it affects Brady. Will Tom Brady want anything to do with the NFL after his playing days are done? When he’s asked to return for different league-related things will he say ‘no’ and stick with Patriots functions?“It’s still hard for me to believe that Tom Brady is going to miss four games to open the regular season. I find that hard to believe because there was not a smoking gun that was found, although there was a lot of incriminating evidence.” What do you make of signing Tyrann Mathieu to a five-year extension that will pay him $21.25 million over the next two years?Marvez: “To me, it’s a risky move with Tyrann Mathieu but I also understand that every team’s fabric is different. (GM) Steve Keim told me he came back even better after the first ACL (tear) than he was before. He was in better shape and he showed no signs of there being a problem. They’re counting on the same thing happening with him coming off of this ACL (tear).“If there is no cartilage damage that was suffered and it’s just a clean ACL tear, then I can feel better about it, but it’s still a very risky move — a guy with two torn ACLs. I guess you look at the risk-reward. You’ve got a guy who is happy, he’s under contract and prices for great players in the NFL aren’t getting any cheaper.“If this guy were about to become a free agent they’d have to use the franchise tag. It could get ugly, but players are happy here. The contract issues haven’t been around lately because guys have been getting paid and they feel they can manage the cap.”Looking around the NFC West, are the Rams finally ready to challenge the division powers? Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Marvez: “I think they’re still a season away. I don’t feel confident about the quarterback position with Case Keenum and Jared Goff being a rookie, I still have questions on the offensive line, I still have some questions on defense with some of the players that they lost.“Is Tavon Austin a bona fide No. 1 receiver? Who else is going to step up and carry that load? Is Tyler Higbee, the fourth-round pick out of Western Kentucky, truly ready to make an impact as a pass catcher? Whoever is playing quarterback has to have weapons. To me, this has all the earmarks of another 8-8, 7-9 Jeff Fisher-coached team.”Should we expect Seattle back in the mix for the division title?Marvez: “Seattle is right back in the mix for the division, no question. I think the signing of (guard) Jahri Evans was a wise one earlier this week. They tried with the young guys as long as they could and they realized ‘hey, we’re going to get (QB) Russell Wilson killed if we don’t get someone in who understands that guard position.’ So Jahri Evans comes in from the Saints, still has some gas left in the tank and is a real good player who just wouldn’t take a pay cut to stick with the Saints so he’s out the door. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Categories: News 18Dec Cotter: Legislation creating Foster Parents Bill of Rights heads to governor’s desk The Michigan House today approved legislation to create a Foster Parents Bill of Rights, ensuring the protection of basic rights for foster parents and their families, state Rep. Kevin Cotter announced.The package makes certain foster families are included as important members of the foster care team caring for children in Michigan’s foster care system, by providing access to staff, timely financial reimbursements and detail about the role of agencies in the foster care process.“A family from my district first introduced me to this issue, and once I heard their story I knew we had to do something to help and protect families who wanted to open their homes to foster children,” said Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant. “This package is about making sure foster families have legal rights, and the changes will guarantee foster children and families are cared for and protected.”House Bill 4649, sponsored by Cotter, amends the state’s Foster Care and Adoption Services Act to create the Foster Parents Bill of Rights, which outlines foster families’ basic rights, the complaint process, service plans, foster child placement guidelines and guidelines for court proceedings.“Currently, Michigan has a shortage of families who are willing to open their homes and provide foster care services, and this legislation will help us reverse that trend,” Cotter said. “I’m confident the Foster Parents Bill of Rights will go a long way in encouraging the growth of families throughout our state.”The bills now heads to the governor for approval.###
Categories: News 16Jan LaFontaine returns as House Natural Resources chairwoman Senior legislator will also serve on Insurance, Energy Policy, Government Operations, Financial Liability ReformState Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township, announced that she will chair the House Committee on Natural Resources for another term. In the 98th Legislature, LaFontaine again will lead lawmakers in overseeing policy discussions involving issues such as public lands, fisheries and wildlife, parks and trails and the Great Lakes.“Michigan’s greatest asset is its natural resources,” LaFontaine said. “I am honored to have a hand in highlighting the value of our forests, lakes and wildlife while ensuring they are properly protected and responsibly utilized. I look forward to continuing the Natural Resources Committees’ efforts by working with Michiganders from across the state to make sound policy decisions protecting and preserving the Great Lakes State and improving quality of life for all.”The Macomb County representative is serving her third and final term in the Michigan House and—in addition to her committee leadership role—will serve on the committees on Insurance, Energy Policy, Government Operations and Financial Liability Reform.###
07Oct Rep. Cole bill requires temporary weather towers to meet FAA regulations Tags: #SB, HB 4727 Categories: Cole News,Featured news,News Rep. Triston Cole, left, and Bryan Budd, right, testified Sept. 30 before the House Committee on Local Government in support of Rep. Cole’s ouse Bill 4727, which was recommended to the House Floor by the committee today.State Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, recently introduced legislation to require that Meteorological Evaluation Towers (METs) meet standard Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations for pilot visibility.“A MET can be erected in a day and the owners are currently not required to provide any safety markings or registration current aviation authorities or the FAA.” Rep. Cole said. “This has created serious safety concerns for crop dusters and farmers concerned about caused hazardous conditions for low flying aircraft. My bill will implement preventative measures that will ensure the safety and well-being of all Michigan residents.”House Bill 4727 will amend Michigan’s “Tall Structure Act” of 1959 by requiring METs used for wind turbine location that are more than 50 feet in height be marked following FAA rules.The House Committee on Local Government voted today in support of HB 4727 and the bill will now move to the House floor for a full vote.#####
Categories: News,VanderWall News 03Nov Rep. VanderWall casts vote to end driver responsibility fees Bipartisan legislation also forgives outstanding debt State Rep. Curt VanderWall on Thursday voted for sweeping bipartisan legislation that brings an end to driver responsibility fees in October 2018 and forgives debt arising from the fees.VanderWall, of Ludington, said enactment of driver responsibility fees in 2003 was the reckless act of a past administration desperate to balance the budget. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents have paid fees that did nothing to improve their driving skills.“People affected by driver responsibility fees often lost driving privileges, which in turn led to them being unable to find reliable transportation to work. Many lost their jobs as a result,” VanderWall said. “As they fell deeper into debt because of the fees – unable to regain their driver’s licenses – they depended on public assistance to care for their families. It was truly a Catch 22 situation.”The eight-bill package ends the fees on Oct. 1, 2018 and forgives debt owed by those who have been affected by the fees. They also provide alternative methods to fulfill the fee payment until they are eliminated.“We have restored a community service option so people can work off their fees while cleaning up their neighborhoods or helping others,” VanderWall said. “One of the bills establishes a workforce development program that helps people find good jobs once they regain their driving privileges.”The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.#####The bills are House Bills 5040-5046, 5079 and 5080.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesApril 7, 2014; Charlottesville Business Journal, “Work It, C-Ville”A small group of Milwaukee residents, representing both the for-profit and the nonprofit sectors, are looking into arranging the purchase of the Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery to convert it either to a co-op or a city-owned brewery. Either way, they want to bring it back from Los Angeles to where it started in 1844—to Milwaukee.“When I think about Pabst being anywhere else but Milwaukee, it just doesn’t make sense,” said Susie Seidelman, an organizer of the Bring Pabst Blue Ribbon Home effort. “Milwaukee made this beer what it is…. It’s right on the can.” Bringing Pabst back is about “investing in the city of Milwaukee,” Seidelman said.The group’s website has two letters looking for signatures; they are addressed to the Milwaukee mayor and city council, and they ask them to entertain a community ownership model like that of the Green Bay Packers. But there is also interest in a possible cooperative structure.The scheme seems to fit well with some Great Lakes cities that are trying to develop a “blue economy.” As growing water becomes scarcer in warmer states, many Northern communities may be able to make some economic headway by using their access to freshwater to attract water-dependent businesses like breweries.But the enterprise would be expensive, possibly costing as much as $1 billion. Jeff Fleming of Milwaukee’s development department said city officials are looking forward to discussing the endeavor with the organizers.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesNovember 12, 2014;Cleveland Plain DealerIn a very unusual move at press conference held yesterday at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced the start of a $35 million national initiative to help fund the testing of backlogged rape kits around the country. The move appears to be unprecedented, with one state reaching out nationally to solve a serious and lingering law enforcement problem. It also appears to be an initiative where a foundation did some very impressive work with government to solve a measurable problem with real impact. The money will come from forfeiture funds.Vance was joined in the announcement by actress Mariska Hargitay, founder and president of Joyful Heart Foundation, a nonprofit focused on empowering sexual assault survivors with resources and a community; Natasha Alexenko from Natasha’s Justice Project, a sexual assault survivor that has been working to eliminate the backlog; and Detroit prosecutor Kym Worthy, who helped alleviate Detroit’s own problem with backlogged kits.“What stands in the way of identifying the scope of untested rape kits around the country as well as testing them for DNA is, quite simply, money,” said Vance at yesterday’s press conference. “Today our office is announcing a $35 million commitment to help to eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits nationwide.”The initiative will tackle the multitude of rape kits currently sitting in police storage rooms and evidence lockers due to the lack of necessary funds to test them. While the exact number of kits is unknown, the number likely reaches the hundreds of thousands, with currently more than 12,000 untested rape kits sitting in Memphis, 1600 in Cleveland, 3700 in Tulsa, and 4000 in Las Vegas, according to Vance. Back in 2012, the number of backlogged kits was estimated to be around 400,000. With each rape kit costing around $500 to $1000 dollars to test, the $35 million commitment could test as many as 70,000 kits around the country.According to Vance, the funds are derived from the forfeiture fees paid by international banks for violating U.S. sanctions. Law enforcement agencies across the country will need to apply for grants, and once they have been found to qualify within the guidelines, they will receive some part of the $35 million in funding.Deputy Press Secretary for the Manhattan DA’s office Emily Tuttle noted in an email with NPQ that all the details for the grant process have not been worked out yet, but priority funding would first be given to New York districts that have a backlog, if there are any.Vance mentioned that the initiative would likely have a number of benefits aside from matching perpetrators to previously unsolved rape cases. Following New York’s passing of the 2012 All Crimes DNA bill, which required anyone with a criminal conviction to submit their DNA samples to the state, testing rape kits will further add to the expanding national DNA database. A larger collection of DNA samples means a higher probability of matching repeat offenders with previously unsolved crimes.Vance made further reference to several cases wherein processing a single rape kit was able to provide answers for other crimes. Keith Lamar Lester, who raped three school girls in Rochester, N.Y., was arrested 10 years later in Alabama, where his DNA was matched to the earlier sex crime. After testing Clarence Williams’ DNA in a 35-year-old cold case in New York, detectives were also able to connect him to nine unsolved sexual assaults and robberies in Silver Springs, Maryland, further illustrating that rape is not a local crime and the subsequent national benefits of the initiative. According to Vance, New York City eliminated its backlog more than a decade ago between 2000 and 2003, resulting in 200 prosecutions.In the same stride, with an influx of DNA samples, the justice system would also be able to better identify wrongful convictions and help exonerate those imprisoned for a crime they did not commit because the database includes DNA of the real perpetrator.Hargitay, known as the compassionate and tough detective Olivia Benson on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and as a fierce advocate for assault survivors in real life as well, spoke briefly about what the thousands of untested kits say to the victims of the crimes:“The rape kit backlog sends two terrible messages. To victims, it says, ‘You don’t matter. What happened to you doesn’t matter.’ And to criminals it says, ‘What you did doesn’t matter.’ Testing the kits reverses those two messages.”Vance acknowledged that the $35 million would not completely eradicate the issue of backlogged kits, but it would help start a conversation and bring in other supporters that could help fund testing. Congress is also weighing President Barack Obama’s proposed $41 million initiative to fund testing of backlogged kits. However, a monumental effort is also needed to pursue prosecutions and trials and reconnect with survivors.“Our pledge today is intended as seed money to address a national systemic problem. We’re asking other organizations to join us and provide backlog elimination grants to the cities that need them most.”—Shafaq Hasan ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share26Tweet14Share4Email44 Shares“5Pointz,” Forsaken FotosFebruary 13, 2018; Washington Post5Pointz (also known as 5Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin’) was an epicenter of the graffiti scene that attracted many of the world’s most prominent aerosol artists. 5Pointz consisted of twelve factory buildings in Long Island City, Queens, New York City. Built in 1892, the buildings were one, three, or five stories high, originally housing the Neptune Meter factory. The interconnected buildings housed the Crane Street Studios, in which some 200 artists paid below-market rents for studio space.Jerry Wolkoff bought the property in the early 1970s and leased the space to various companies. By the 1990s, Wolkoff began leasing space to artists with permission to graffiti over the exterior walls. Jonathan Cohen coined the moniker “5Pointz” as a reference to their art bringing together NYC’s five boroughs: “Wolkoff gave Cohen and hundreds of other artists free rein to paint whatever they pleased, with only three exceptions: no religion, politics or sex. Artists from all backgrounds poured in from all over the world.” Millions of people appreciated the renowned cultural landmark from the elevated 7-train that passed nearby. The mural art served as a destination for tourists, and as a backdrop for music videos, movies, weddings, and concerts.The troubles began in 2013, when Wolkoff unilaterally decided to demolish 5Pointz and replace it with a condominium complex. His announcement resulted in a lawsuit filed by the 5Pointz artists. Hyperallergic chronicles the years-long battle here.When the artists got wind of the landlord’s plans to replace the warehouses with high-rise luxury condos, they began a campaign to try to save 5Pointz. Cohen filed an application with the City Landmark Preservation Commission to preserve the site but was rejected because the artistic work was too recent. He also tried to raise money to buy the property, but its value soon skyrocketed to more than $200 million.The 5Pointz buildings were demolished completely by 2014, but not before the wall art were unceremoniously whitewashed. Construction of two residential towers (48 and 41 stories) began in 2015 and continues.The protesting artists filed a federal lawsuit against Wolkoff, stating that the destruction of the buildings without notice violated the Visual Artists Rights Act. This trial would decide whether graffiti is federally protected.In November 2017, a jury recommended that the judge rule that the destruction of the graffiti was in fact illegal. In a dramatic conclusion to this landmark case, the judge just decided in favor of the 21 artists, awarding them maximum damages of $6.7 million ($150,000 for each of the 45 works destroyed), saying Wolkoff “‘willfully’ ruined the artwork and showed no remorse for his ’recalcitrant behavior.’”This battle between the rights of New York City’s two most prominent forces, art and real estate, set a decisive precedent for the protection of graffiti art across the country. This decision establishes that the ruined murals have enough artistic stature to merit being protected.The judge’s ruling came after a milestone three-week trial in November in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. The case marked the first time a court has been asked to determine whether graffiti—with its ephemeral nature—should be considered art protected under federal law, according to a court opinion.The judge asserted that some of the destroyed images “reflect striking technical and artistic mastery and vision worthy of display in prominent museums if not on the walls of 5Pointz.”“The shame of it all is that since 5Pointz was a prominent tourist attraction the public would undoubtedly have thronged to say its goodbyes during those 10 months and gaze at the formidable works of aerosol art for the last time,” Block concluded. “It would have been a wonderful tribute for the artists that they richly deserved.”Accustomed to being displaced by the interests of real estate developers, evocative, outsider street artists are now having a dialogue with history.—Jim SchafferShare26Tweet14Share4Email44 Shares
Subscription DVD and video-on-demand service Lovefilm has struck a content deal with Disney for the UK and Ireland for animated series featuring superheroes from the Marvel stable.The deal will allow Lovefilm to stream shows including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, X-Men and Silver Surfer.Jim Buckle, managing director of Lovefilm, said: “We already have a fantastic range of animated TV content on offer for our customers and it is great to see it expand with Marvel animation as a result of this new deal with Disney. It is an exciting development as many of our members will have grown up watching Marvel classics and can now catch up whenever they choose. The collection will also appeal to new fans.”
US cable operator Time Warner Cable is adding live programming and video-on-demand outside the home to its apps for iPads and iPhones for the first time.The cable operator will offer selected video-on-demand and live programming from today, accessible over any WiFi connection. Over 1,100 hours of on-demand shows and movies from 26 networks and up to 11 live TV news, sports and entertainment channels, including BBC America, beIN Sports and Fox News.On-demand services available outside the home include BBC America, Hallmark Channel, Comedy Central, MTV and Univision.“We were the first provider to bring live television to the iPad in the home,” said Mike Angus, senior vice-president and general manager, video for Time Warner Cable. “Since then, we’ve increased the number of platforms and devices on which our customers can watch live television, and added thousands of hours of video-on-demand programming at no additional cost. The release of this TWC TV update is the next natural step towards our goal of giving customers even more of the content they love on every screen.”US cable giant Comcast has already made some live content available outside the home to subscribers. However, US service providers have been slower to make content available outside the home than counterparts in some other countries.
Satellite operators Eutelsat and Spacecom are to create a unified neighbourhood for Africa at the 16-17° East orbital position.The two companies have established a framework for cross-commercialisation of Ku-band capacity connected to the African service areas of Eutelsat’s Eutelsat 16A satellite at 16° East and Spacecom’s Amos-5 satellite at 17° East. The combined channel line-up of both satellites currently comprises over 100 free-to-air African and international channels that the pair say can be received by standard 80cm dishes in a footprint covering over 30 million TV homes in Francophone Africa and extending to Ghana and Nigeria.The two operators will pool their commercial efforts to encourage further growth at the 16-17° East position.Rodney Benn, Eutelsat’s regional vice-president for Africa, said: “This agreement between Eutelsat and Spacecom shows how neighbouring operators can combine their strengths to offer Africa’s broadcast community the full benefits of their expertise. Spacecom is one of the most dynamic satellite companies in the African marketplace and we look forward to working with them on building on our shared vision of aggregating the most compelling content for TV viewers at a single neighbourhood.”Amir Carmeli, SVP sales, West Africa and France at Spacecom, said: “Africa is a tremendously dynamic market for digital broadcasting. Our agreement with Eutelsat enriches viewers’ experiences throughout the continent. By creating a joint effort that aggregates content and improves the commercial reach of advertisers, we are optimising the broadcast environment. The availability of diverse and quality broadcasts from Africa and abroad, extends the limits of African entertainment possibilities and develops social and educational values.”
Polish cable operator Multimedia Polska has struck a deal to add Warner Bros content to its video-on-demand offering.Multimedia Polska will make a range of movies available on-demand including Interstellar, The Dark Knight Rises and Batman vs Robin.Bartłomiej Kasiński, director of strategy and development said that the addition of Warner Bros content was only one of a series of new content additions to the VoD platform and that the company aimed to give its subscribers the opportunity to watch the best films available.
Canal+ Group and Disney have struck a deal that will see Canalsat become the exclusive distributor in France of Disney Junior, Disney XD and Disney Channel and new premium service Disney Cinema, Disney catch-up services and new educational on-demand service Disney English.Canal+ said that the deal marked a new stage in its partnership with Disney. The pay broadcaster said that the agreement would strengthen its position in family viewing, with exclusive carriage of four channels that together represent a 42% share of the 4-14 audience.The Disney English on-demand service will be included in Canalsat’s Panorama package, while new premium movie service Disney Cinema will be included in the Grand Panorama package.
Virgin Media has launched ultrafast broadband in Ireland with speeds of up to 360Mbps.Virgin claims that it offers “Ireland’s fastest ever broadband” with its fibre-powered network now available in almost 750,000 homes.“We already had the fastest broadband in Ireland but things have just got even faster with our new sky-ripping 360Mb. Now you can enjoy buffer-free entertainment as you surf, stream and chat like never before,” claimed Bill Blake, Virgin Media’s head of commercial and products.
Satellite operator SES is now targeting a launch date of February 24 for its new SES-9 satellite.The new date was mutually set by SES and the launch operator for SES-9, SpaceX. The latter is currently completing an extended series of testing and pre-flight validation in advance of the SES-9 launch, which will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.SES-9 was originally scheduled for launch late last year. According to sES SpaceX has introduced changes to its launch mission designed to reduce the time needed for SES-9 to reach its orbital slot, keeping the date at which the craft will begin commercial operations in the third quarter of 2016, as previously foreseen.SES-9 will be positioned at 108.2° East and provide both replacement and incremental capacity for a prime video neighbourhood over Asia. The craft is part of a fleet investment programme designed to increase SES´s satellite capacity for emerging markets by 21% by the end of 2018.
Vodafone has announced plans to remove line rental charges for new and upgrading fibre optic home broadband customers in the UK.The operator said that as part of a “new, transparent and easy to understand” home broadband pricing structure, customers will still receive a home phone service, but will not have to pay for the line rental.“Giving our customers the opportunity to break free from hidden line rental charges is our way of letting our customers know that we are listening and that we are serious about providing them with the Unlimited Home Broadband experience that they deserve,” said Vodafone UK commercial director, Glafkos Persianis.Vodafone, which started offering fibre optic home broadband in the UK last year, will now offer new customers Vodafone Unlimited Fibre 38 Mbps for £25 (€30) per month and Vodafone Unlimited Fibre 76Mbps for £28 per month.CCS Insight analyst, Paolo Pescatore, described Vodafone’s decision as a “bold move” that will “help raise awareness of its fibre broadband offerings in a crowded market”.“It represents a great opportunity for Vodafone to steal a march on its rivals, more so given it is a relatively new entrant and faces significant headwinds in the fixed line broadband market,” said Pescatore.However, he added that Vodafone’s lack of content “still represents a huge headache for the company,” as its rivals are bundling entertainment, movies and sports with their broadband deals.“We are moving into a key period when all multiplay providers are trying to entice subscribers with attractive promotions ahead of the new Premier League season. We are expecting a busy second half of the year with Sky’s entry into mobile, Vodafone’s debut in TV and Virgin Media’s new set-top box.”
Satellite operator Eutelsat has signed a new agreement with broadcast services provider Telespazio, owned by Leonardo-Finmeccanica and Thales, to further the growth of HD and UHD channels at Eutelsat’s Hotbird position.In addition to transmissions of SD platforms in DVB-S and DVB-S2, Telespazio has said it will accelerate the move to new higher resolution formats.Luigi Pasquali, Telespazio CEO, said: “Providing services to large and medium-sized broadcasters is one of Telespazio’s core business lines. For over two decades we have favoured from our teleports the Hotbird satellites for their footprint and the audience they deliver as well as their reliability and capacity to scale up to HD and Ultra HD. In addition to covering advanced renewals the new agreement with Eutelsat confirms our commitment to drive continued growth of HOTBIRD-based services.”Rodolphe Belmer, Eutelsat CEO, said: “Telespazio is a longstanding partner with extensive experience in serving a diversified array of broadcast clients. This expertise will add new impetus to the growth of HD and Ultra HD channels in Italy and across the broad footprint of the Hotbird satellites that are a pillar of our video activity.”
Solar energy specialist Azuri Technologies has teamed up with Wananchi Group-owned pay TV operator Zuku TV to launch a new pay-as-you-go TV service aimed at regions in Kenya without electricity supply.The Azuri PayGo Solar TV offering will combine solar home power, a 24-inch TV, satellite dish and Zuku’s Smart+ entertainment offering with 48 TV and 21 radio channels.The TV line-up includes a broad range of regional channels as well as Zuku’s own-branded services, international news channels, kids, lifestyle and music services and a range of religious channels.The offering also includes four high-brightness LED lamps for use inside and outside the home, a mobile phone charger and portable radio.According to UK-based Azuri, the offering is aimed at providing households outside the power grid with an affordable TV services. The service will be initially available in selected regions of central Kenya and will be rolled out progressively nationwide in 2017, targeting the over five million households across the country that do not currently have an electricity supply.The service is available for a down-payment of KES4,999 and a recurring charge of KES149 a day.
Pay TV sports network Eleven Sports has secured exclusive live rights for Belgium to forthcoming boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.Eleven will provide access to the fight via a Fight Pass subscription for a one-time payment of €20. Subscribers an also purchase an annual pass for €80 that gives them access to all Eleven content, including La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 football, UFC and Cage Warriors mixed martial arts, Euro Hockey League, Champions League handball, Premier League Darts and the World Cup of Darts.Eleven recently strengthened its portfolio of rights in the country by securing the rights to show all UFC combat sports events live in Belgium and Luxembourg.“We are committed to delivering world-class, premium sports entertainment for the fans and we are thrilled to bring this super fight between two legends of their sports exclusively live to fans in Belgium,” said Danny Menken, group managing director, Eleven Sports.“Coming on the back of our acquisition of rights to UFC and Cage Warriors, this announcement underlines our commitment to growing and promoting fight sports while also creating a go-to destination that a growing and loyal fanbase can call home.”