Commencing 1 September, as part of this year’s Federal budget, duty free limits on Tobacco are being reduced from 250 cigarettes to 50 or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco products.This new limit applies to all tobacco products in accompanied baggage, regardless of where or how they were purchased.The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has warned that if passengers exceed the duty free concession they will be charged duty and tax on all items of that type (general goods, alcohol or tobacco), not just the items which exceed the limit.The general goods and alcohol duty-free concessions remain the same, if you are 18 years or over you can bring up to A$900 worth of general goods into Australia Duty free.If you are aged 18 years or over, you can bring 2.25 liters of alcohol duty free into Australia with you. All alcohol in accompanied baggage is included in the category, regardless of where or how it was purchased. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P
in Daily Dose, Data, Government, News September 7, 2018 723 Views Share Unemployment has stayed steady, according to the latest Employment Situation Summary from the U.S. Census Bureau. The unemployment rate is still at 3.9 percent as of August 2018, and the number of unemployed persons remains relatively unchanged at 6.2 million.“Today’s jobs data showed wage growth is slowly increasing, currently at 2.9 percent compared to 2.3 percent at this time last year,” said Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, at First American. “The increased pace of wage growth, combined with the recent slowdown in price appreciation, should bode well for consumer house-buying power this fall.”Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men, adult women, teenagers, Whites, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics showed little or no change in August.Construction has seen a trend upward in employment, up by over 23,000 in August, and up by 297,000 over the year.“The headline numbers from the August jobs report point to a solid labor market,” said Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. “Despite the downward revisions in the prior two months, average monthly job gains year-to-date sit at 207,000, above the 189,000 over the same period in 2017. The pop in annual wage gains to the expansion best, along with the recent uptrend in inflation, seems to support Fed Chair Powell’s argument in Jackson Hole that moving interest rates too slowly could risk overheating, consistent with our call for September and December rate hikes. For housing, a pickup in residential construction workers was encouraging and badly needed as supply constraints largely kept housing on the sideline during the first half of the year while other consumer and business demand helped propel strong economic growth.”Fannie Mae notes that increased employment has led to an overall more positive sentiment among homeowners. Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index was 88 points in August, up 1.5 points month over month. According to Fannie Mae, the uptick in home purchase sentiment can be attributed to job- and income-related HPSI components, as 15 percentage points fewer Americans were afraid of losing their job as of August, a large recovery from July’s 11 point month over month decrease. This puts the share of those who are unafraid of losing their job at 80 percent, a record high for the survey.Find the complete Census Bureau charts here. Construction Jobs and the Housing Market Census Bureau Employment Fannie Mae 2018-09-07 Seth Welborn
Around 5,500 members of the secondary education teachers’ union Oelmek will be called to a referendum in January to state if they agree with the introduction of the midterm exams in high schools as per the regulations to be introduced in September, the union’s head Yiannos Socratous said on Tuesday.The union’s general representatives from all districts agreed last week to bring back the issue of the introduction of midterm exams, which was voted by the House plenum last year as part of the new regulations for high schools.“This issue has caused serious friction within the union so we wanted the opinion of those who are directly involved, and who are also scientists, we tend to forget that. Their opinion is very important,” Socratous told the Cyprus Mail.He added that the new school regulations, that are to be introduced in the next school year, must be amended.According to the announcement of the general representatives, the result of the referendum will be binding and will determine Oelmek’s stance in the upcoming consultations between the education ministry and the House education committee on the new regulations.The new regulations are deemed by the education ministry as an important reform of the educational system as they contribute to a great extent to the streamlining of day to day school operations. The ministry maintains that the introduction of midterm exams will help students as they will receive feedback on their performance so that they can work on their weaknesses.The union however feels that midterm exams will fail the goals they aspire to and on the contrary pupils will take even more private lessons, causing a serious strain in family budgets.The introduction of the new rules, the union said, conflicts with the philosophy of the new curricula and the student success indicators and at the same time creates “an extremely stressful and burdensome school programme, which will de facto have a negative impact on teachers, pupils and the operation of school units”.Teachers also fear that it would dramatically decrease teaching time while at the same time “the volume of the curriculum remains enormous”.“Consequently, teaching will have to align with traditional teacher-centred models as there will be no time for innovative learner-centred approaches, for experiential and active learning, projects, etc,” the announcement said.The timeframes set, it said, are so stifling that not only will they not work, but will cause rigidities and distortions in terms of procedures, creating many organisational problems and dysfunction in schools.You May LikeLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Search For 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndoFreedom Debt ReliefPeople In Heavy CC Debt Are In For Big SurpriseFreedom Debt ReliefUndoSecurity SaversWindows Users Advised To Do This TodaySecurity SaversUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
State Rep. Martin Howrylak (left), R-Troy, was joined by Janet M. Watts, a retired Detroit Public Schools early elementary teacher and Troy resident, and Ray Watts for the 2015 State of the State address at the Capitol in Lansing. The governor outlined his plans for his second term during the State of the State speech.### Categories: Howrylak News,Howrylak Photos 20Jan Howrylak, retired teacher attend 2015 State of the State address
Categories: News,Webber News Lawmaker will be reading at more area schools later this monthState Rep. Michael Webber recently visited classrooms in Rochester’s North Hill and Baldwin elementary schools to promote March is Reading Month.State Rep. Michael Webber, R-Rochester, reads to a classroom at North Hill Elementary School. Rep. Webber is visiting schools across the greater Rochester area and reading to students in support of March is Reading Month.“Reading is one of those necessary life skills, but it can also be a fun hobby,” said Rep. Webber, R-Rochester Hills. “It’s great to be able to show our students that reading can be an adventure, and not just homework.”The lawmaker will be spreading that message as he continues touring elementary schools in the 45th House District.“As the representative of the greater Rochester area, I feel strongly about making sure our students are on track and their education is of the highest quality,” Rep. Webber said. “March is Reading Month is not only a great way to encourage the learning process, but it’s also a fun way for me to meet with my youngest constituents.”Rep. Webber will continue his reading tour on Monday, March 21, as he visits Brewster Elementary in Rochester Hills; Delta Kelly Elementary in Oakland; and McGregor and Musson Elementary Schools in Rochester.For more information and ideas on how to celebrate March is Reading Month or to encourage children to read, visit the Michigan Department of Education’s online resources website at www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Reading_Month_270348_7_272048_7.pdf.##### 17Mar Rep. Webber kicks off March is Reading Month at North Hill and Baldwin schools
State Rep. Peter Lucido was sworn in as representative of the 36th District today, reciting the oath of office from fellow Macomb County native and Michigan Supreme Court Justice David Viviano during a House floor ceremony.Joining Rep. Lucido was his wife, Ann Marie.“This morning it was truly an honor and privilege to be sworn in to a second term serving the residents of Macomb County,” said Rep. Lucido, R-Shelby Township. “It was also special to have Ann Marie and Macomb County’s own Supreme Court Justice David Viviano present to swear me in. I look forward to the next two years and continuing to do all I can for the families and businesses in the 36th District.”With the swearing-in to his second term, Rep. Lucido encourages residents to contact his Lansing office for any questions or concerns involving state government. Residents can speak with Lucido or 36th District Legislative Director Scott Czasak at (517) 373-0843, via email at PeterLucido@house.mi.gov and by mail at S-885 House Office Building, Lansing, MI 48909.“Representing my district’s residents and businesses will always be my first priority,” said Rep. Lucido. “We’ve got a lot of work to do at the Capitol and I’m looking forward to representing Macomb County – in Lansing and back home.” 11Jan Rep. Lucido takes oath, renews commitment to 36th District Categories: Lucido News,News
24Jan Rep. Frederick statement on governor’s 2018 State of the State address State Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso, left, welcomed Perry Mayor James Huguelet to the state Capitol for the governor’s annual State of the State address. Frederick invited Huguelet to sit alongside him in the House chamber while Gov. Rick Snyder presented his agenda for the year.State Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso issued the following statement after Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018 State of the State address:“Gov. Snyder did a tremendous job highlighting just how far Michigan’s economy has come in the past eight years. We’ve added 540,000 private-sector jobs since December 2010, more than any other state in the Great Lakes region. The challenge we have now is building a large talent pool of skilled individuals who are qualified to fill those jobs.“As chair of the House Workforce and Talent Development, I’m tasked with finding ways to help our young people gain the skills they need to land these well-paying, in-demand careers. We’ve accomplished a lot legislatively over the past year with the Career Pathways Alliance to offer K-12 students more opportunities to explore careers in the professional trades.“I was pleased to hear the governor discuss an initiative in the works to enhance educational and training opportunities for high-tech jobs, and I look forward to working with Gov. Snyder on further workforce based initiatives in the coming months. Breaking down the walls between our schools and local businesses will make a dramatic difference in connecting students with well-paying careers in their communities.“I also appreciated the fact that Gov. Snyder touched on the need for more civility in all that we do. The divisiveness that has taken over across the country, particularly when it comes to politics, needs to end. We will do more to improve the quality of life across our state and our nation if we listen more and show respect toward our friends, neighbors and colleagues.”### Categories: Frederick News
State Rep. Lana Theis of Brighton, along with five other House colleagues, today unveiled legislation as part of an eight-bill package repealing Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system.The goal is to bring significant relief to drivers paying the nation’s most expensive insurance premiums.The proposal eliminates the no-fault system and moves Michigan to a full-tort system similar to 40 other states such as Ohio.“The residents of Michigan have made it clear they are tired of paying our outrageous auto insurance rates and they are demanding we do something,” said Theis, who chairs the House Insurance Committee. “For decades we have tried to reform no-fault and those attempts continue to fail, so now it is time to just eliminate the system all together.”The plan still mandates that all Michigan drivers have insurance, but provides more choice and flexibility by eliminating the mandate to buy unlimited medical coverage. Accident victims will have the ability to sue at-fault drivers for economic damages and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.The legislation also includes a “legacy fee” to continue to fund the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) until it is no longer needed. The MCCA system will be closed to new entrants.“Our no-fault system was adopted in 1973 with the promises of reducing the number of lawsuits, ensuring victims received payments faster and reducing our rates. Unfortunately, none of those promises have come true,” Theis said.Colorado abandoned its no-fault system in 2003. According to a 2008 governor’s study, the average car insurance premium in the state decreased 35 percent since the state moved to a tort auto insurance system. Michigan drivers could see greater savings by parting ways with its no-fault system, which is the only one in the nation mandating unlimited medical coverage. Florida, one of the 12 states operating with a no-fault system, is also debating repeal.Theis said repealing Michigan’s no-fault system will result in more insurance companies doing business in Michigan and ultimately create more competition to drive down insurance rates even further.The bill package, House Bills 5517-23, will be formally read into the record next week. 01Feb Theis part of new plan to fix Michigan’s auto insurance system Categories: Theis News
Share3TweetShareEmail3 SharesMarch 13, 2016; The HillAs the battle for the Democratic nomination rages, Sunday night’s town hall in upcoming primary state Ohio gave Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton another chance to differentiate themselves for the swing voters.Sunday night brought to the forefront the issue of the death penalty, which generally Sanders opposes and Clinton supports. However, Clinton was asked to specify the capacity in which she supports capital punishment by an exoneree and former-death row Ohio inmate, Ricky Jackson. In anticipation of Tuesday’s next round of primaries, that moment at the town hall gives voters the opportunity to delve into the candidate’s past positions on the death penalty and what it may mean if she steps into the oval office.Jackson was convicted of murder at the age of 18 and spent the next 39 years in prison awaiting his execution, the longest-served sentence for any wrongful conviction exoneree. He was released more than a year ago with the help of the Ohio Innocence Project. Jackson stood up and asked Clinton:Senator, I spent some of those years on death row and I came perilously close to my own execution. In light of what I just shared with you and in light of the fact that there are documented cases of innocent people who have been executed in our country, I would like to know, how can you still take your stance on the death penalty, in light of what you know right now?In true pragmatic form, Clinton’s levelheaded response is unlikely to surprise those who have been following her position on the death penalty in recent years. Eschewing the states, Clinton said that it’s become apparent that states simply cannot conduct executions honoring the defendant’s rights and ensuring the wrong person is not imprisoned. Rather, she said, the capacity to use capital punishment should only be held by the federal government, and the death penalty should only be used in very specific cases where mass murder has been committed.“I have said I would breathe a sigh of relief if either the Supreme Court or the states themselves began to eliminate the death penalty,” said Clinton. “But a very limited use of it in cases where there has been horrific mass killings. That’s really the exception that I still am struggling with. And that would only be in the federal system.”A year ago, the Marshall Project and Politico both wrote pieces on the evolution of Clinton’s position on the death penalty and criminal reform in general. Before Clinton affirmed her current position against abolishing the death penalty in October of last year, she noted her “unenthusiastic support” for capital punishment when she ran for the Senate in 2000. What may explain her “unenthusiastic support” could be Clinton’s previous involvement in the 1976 case of Henry Giles, a mentally handicapped convicted murderer who she helped avoid the death penalty as a young attorney. At the time, Bill was running for attorney general of Arkansas, which persuaded her to keep her name off the amicus brief. According to the Marshall Project, during Bill’s time as governor, for which he oversaw four executions, including the execution of horrendously brain-damaged inmate Ricky Ray Rector, Hillary allegedly agonized over Bill’s position on the death penalty. However, publically she remained silent on her views.Clinton’s changing positions on the death penalty fit well with her general pragmatic disposition; her public views generally conformed to the accepted views at the time, including the ebb and flow of her husband’s views.In many ways, Clinton’s position on capital punishment is intertwined with her husband’s political career and beliefs. Bill painted a target on his back in 1979 after he commuted the prison sentence of mentally ill convicted murderer James Surridge, who, upon his release, committed another murder. While previously Bill had embraced more liberal policies in criminal reform, in the years that followed 1979 and in his years in the oval office, Bill took a harder stance on crime—and so did Hillary. In the early 1990s, Bill set 70 execution dates for 26 death row inmates while Hillary lobbied for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which expanded the number offenses that could one could be sentenced to death for to 60. President Clinton signed it because it coincided with his position as being tough on crime. Twenty years later, we can look back and see how the mass incarceration policies of the 1990s were largely ineffective at decreasing crime, but they were the accepted views of the time.Therefore, in these dark times of domestic and international terrorist attacks, liberals should expect her to follow the status quo and support execution for Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to death by a Massachusetts jury last year. Clinton also isn’t wrong when she remarks on the historic failings of the criminal justice system in the states. Arguably, if the death penalty were reserved for the most extreme cases, the federal government, which hasn’t executed an inmate since 2003, would be less likely to bungle executions. Only recently have executions by states garnered regular attention and scrutiny, based in part on the efforts of local publications. The level of scrutiny on the federal government when conducting executions is likely to be the same or even more elevated than it is now at the state level.However, Clinton’s shift contrasts sharply with her opponent’s position on capital punishment; Sanders has actively worked against the death penalty throughout his career. Given the record number of exonerations the last few years and states’ decreasing use of the death penalty, Clinton’s softened position on the death penalty will likely appeal to some on the fence about the issue themselves. But the staunch opponents of the death penalty are unlikely to find their candidate in Hillary Clinton.—Shafaq HasanShare3TweetShareEmail3 Shares
IP Vision has launched a connected TV app for its FetchTV OTT platform on Panasonic Smart Viera TVs. The UK company has also confirmed the app will launch on Samsung’s Smart TV platform early next year.The FetchTV app offers on-demand access to movies from major studios and various specialist TV channels. Content can be viewed on a pay-as-you-go basis or, for unlimited access to specific types of programmes, there are micro-subscription options from £1.99 (€2.30) a month.Eddie Abrams, IP Vision’s CEO said: “The evolution of smart TVs represents possibly the greatest transformation to the TV viewing experience since the advent of colour back in the 1960s. These new TVs provide a natural home for FetchTV. Our strategy from the outset has been to diversify onto a whole range of different connected devices, offering consumers a rich entertainment experience that won’t break the bank. The FetchTV app for Panasonic Smart Viera TVs went live this week and we will follow shortly with Samsung and other key manufacturers.”[ad_banner]
Investment bank Morgan Stanley has issued a report on Ziggo that states the Dutch cabler is well positioned for strong growth. “Ziggo has three structural strengths: its asset and business model, its growth profile, and its ability to convert top-line growth into growing free cash flow and returns,” the bank stated. Key growth opportunities for Ziggo lie in the areas of TV Everywhere initiatives, mobile data services and corporate customers, Morgan Stanley said. It forecasts that Ziggo’s revenues will increase 5.1% between 2011 and 2014. Within that total, revenues from TV services will increase 3.3%.
Finnish telco and cable operator DNA has named Timo Karppinen as chief financial officer, effective from December 1.Karppinen was previously executive director, corporate development and strategy at Ponsse, and has also held senior positions at Nokia.
Polish broadcaster TVN Group expects the local TV advertising market to continue to decline this year after a tough 2012.TVN Group, which is in the process of merging its pay TV subsidiary ‘n’ with former rival Cyfra Plus, saw revenue fall by 11% in the fourth quarter on the back of a weak domestic advertising market.TVN’s reported fourth quarter and full-year revenue fell by 13% and 8% respectively. Comparable EBITDA for the fourth quarter fell by 5% to PLN178 million (€43 million), with fully-year comparable EBITDA falling 8% to PLN512 million thanks to cost savings that offset much of the negative revenue impact.Reported EBITDA for the fourth quarter fell by 29% to PLN139 million, attributable in part to a share of the loss of NC+. The EBITDA decline was offset in part by a share of the profit of Vidalia Investments, a vehicle of Ringier Axel Springer, to which TVN sold its Onet.pl internet service in November.“In the face of weakening advertising market TVN Group once again demonstrated its ability to adapt to difficult conditions, preserving profitability by implementing decisive actions resulting in effective cost reductions,” said CEO Markus Tellenbach. “I believe that in 2013 low visibility and fragile market conditions will lead to estimate decline of television advertising market at mid-single digit, while key objectives for the Management are to maintain market shares and profitability in the TV segment and to further develop TVN’s online business. We consistently create value for our shareholders by continuously strengthening the TVN brand and our position as the leading television broadcaster in Poland.”
News Corp’s CFO David DaVoe is to step down from his position following shareholder approval to split Rupert Murdoch’s media giant in two.DaVoe has been News Corp’s top financial executive since 1990 but will retire at the end of the fiscalyear. He will remain on News Corp’s board and as a senior advisor to the company.News Corp’s senior VP and deputy CFO John Nallen will replace him as CFO of 21st Century Fox, the media and entertainment arm of the new-look News Corp.Earlier this week, News Corp shareholders approved the plan to split News Corp into separately traded publishing and entertainment companies on July 1. Ahead of the separation, trading of the current News Corp’s class A and class B stocks will begin on June 19 and continue until June 28.It also comes as News Corp CEO and chairman Murdoch announced he had filed for divorce from third wifeWendi Deng. She is best remembered for leaping to her husband’s defence and attacking a man who had thrown a foam pie at him during a UK committee hearing in 2011.
BSkyB has opened its Sky Store movie rental service up to non-Sky subscribers in the UK and Ireland. The move will allow any UK home with a broadband connection to rent movies from the pay TV operator.In addition to a new skystore.com website, viewers are able to access Sky Store through YouView boxes as well as Roku devices and Sky’s own Now TV OTT service.Sky said the move is part of a wider drive to broaden distribution of its content.Sky Store provides a range of recent movies including Man of Steel, The Hangover Part 3, Despicable Me 2 and The Lone Ranger for £3.49 (€4.21) each as well as older movies for between £0.99 and £1.99. The service offers over 1,200 titles in total.Sky said movie rentals from Sky Store on Sky+ set-top boxes havedoubled over the last year, with 2.1 million movies rented in the three months to September 30.Sky Store is available to Now TV, Roku and YouView users via a dedicated app.“Millions of Sky TV customers already enjoy the choice and value of Sky Store. Now we’re delighted that millions more homes can access hundreds of box office smashes alongside best-loved movie classics. All you need is an internet connection and away you go,” said Nicola Bamford, director of Sky Store.“With Sky Store there are no late fees and no waiting for the post. Customers simply sign up and stream the film they want to watch, when they want to watch, wherever they want – these days it couldn’t be easier to enjoy the perfect movie to suit your mood.”
Brian Sullivan, CEO, Sky Deutschland
Netflix has said it will stop publishing error warnings in the US, blaming ISPs for poor playback, but at the same time criticised broadband providers for not providing enough capacity.In a company blog post, Netflix communications executive Joris Evers said that as part of a “transparency campaign” Netflix started a “small scale test in early May that lets consumers know, while they’re watching Netflix, that their experience is degraded due to a lack of capacity into their broadband provider’s network.”“We are testing this across the US wherever there is significant and persistent network congestion. This test is scheduled to end on June 16. We will evaluate rolling it out more broadly,” he said.The news comes less than a week after Verizon has issued a cease and desist notice to Netflix demanding it stop publicly stating that issues with the Verizon network are responsible for slow connections affecting playback of series and movies.In the letter Verizon said Netflix’s claims are ‘deceptive’ and could harm the wider perception of its broadband service.However, in the blog post, published yesterday to coincide with its latest monthly ISP Speed Index report, Netflix reiterated its belief that ISPs’ actions are causing a “degraded Netflix experience.”“Netflix does not purposely select congested routes. We pay some of the world’s largest transit networks to deliver Netflix video right to the front door of an ISP. Where the problem occurs is at that door – the interconnection point – when the broadband provider hasn’t provided enough capacity to accommodate the traffic their customer requested,” said Evers.“Some large US ISPs are erecting toll booths, providing sufficient capacity for services requested by their subscribers to flow through only when those services pay the toll…We believe these ISP tolls are wrong because they raise costs, stifle innovation and harm consumers. ISPs should provide sufficient capacity into their network to provide consumers the broadband experience for which they pay.”In recent months Netflix has signed interconnect deals with operators in a bid to improve streaming performance for its subs. It agreed a deal in February with Comcast, agreeing to pay the US cable giant to gain direct access to its network to deliver a better quality service to Comcast subscribers. It also agreed a deal with Verizon.
Adam CollingsAdam Collings has joined UKTV from NBCUniversal and will oversee programming at its Watch channel.Collings will oversee programme strategy and scheduling at general entertainment channel Watch and have input into commissioning and acquisitions decisions. He will report to Watch general manager, Steve North.He joins from NBCUniversal where he was director of channels, overseeing the Syfy and Movies 24 services and acquiring shows including Defiance and Sharknado.Prior to NBCU he was at UK free-to-air broadcaster ITV, working across its family of digital channels and before that at Paramount Comedy and the BBC.“Adam comes equipped with fantastic experience from both a terrestrial and multi-channel background,” Steve North said. “Having, in recent years, been at both NBCUniversal and ITV he has developed a complete knowledge of the acquisitions market and the dynamics of the digital environment from a scheduling and programming perspective.”“Adam comes equipped with fantastic experience from both a terrestrial and multi-channel background,” Steve North said. “Having, in recent years, been at both NBCUniversal and ITV he has developed a complete knowledge of the acquisitions market and the dynamics of the digital environment from a scheduling and programming perspective.”Watch is programmed with US and UK entertainment programming. Its recent acquisitions include Warner Bros-distributed Almost Human and Fox-distributed The Strain.Its UK-originated offerings include entertainment series Choccywoccydoodah, several shows featuring the magician Dynamo and its first original drama, Legion, from Tony Jordan.As well as Watch, Scripps and BBC Worldwide-owned digital channel operator UKTV runs Dave, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food.
Yevgen LyaschenkoUkraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, today passed only one of four controversial proposals that local media groups had criticised as a potential threat to freedom of expression in the country. The parliament passed draft bill 1317, which “establishes general criteria for determining audiovisual products which can be a threat to national security of Ukraine, particularly those products that praise armed groups of the country-occupant, prohibiting public use of such products and imposing sanctions on economic entities which will ignore such a prohibition”, according to the Verkhovna Rada web portal.According to Media Group Ukraine, which had opposed the legislation, the law prohibits the distribution in Ukraine of films produced in Russia, as well as films that promote the police, armed forces, military or other force authorities of Russian Federation.The three other bills, which have attracted intense criticism in Ukraine, failed to secure approval.Ahead of the debate Ukrainian broadcasters had publicly condemned plans by the governing coalition to introduce the bills, which they say would seriously endanger freedom of expression in the country.Media Group Ukraine CEO Yevgen Lyaschenko published an open letter to president Petro Poroshenko, prime minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, Verkhovna Rada chairman Volodymyr Groisman and others expressing “deep concern” with legislation that he says is contradictory to international law and European standards.The legislation would give have given the regulator, the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting, wide-ranging powers to suspend channels’ licences without a court judgement for reasons that include the presence of foreign citizens among their owners, channels airing content from non-EU countries as well as to exclude from the airwaves anyone who has expressed support for Russia.“Whatever are the [content of the] bills or wording to cover the intent behind them, we deem it unacceptable that the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine be authorised to temporarily (pending a relevant court ruling) revoke a licence of any TV channel in the country. It is only the court ruling guided by serious and well-proven grounds that might decide on the broadcast suspension. We also deem it impossible for the state authorities to introduce any extrajudicial restraint on media content when such a restraint is based on extremely vague criteria,” said Lyashenko in the letter.“We call upon the President of Ukraine in his capacity of the guarantor of the Constitution, we also call upon Ukraine’s legislative and judicial branches of power, as well as the international community requesting to prevent the adoption of any laws which might call into question key values, such as the freedom of speech, expression and information.”Rival broadcaster Inter has published a similar letter by chairman Yegor Benkendorf.“Under the guise of a ban on anti-Ukrainian propaganda, the draft laws pending their hearing grant unlimited powers and authorities to the governmental regulator of the media sector – the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting, they effectively introduce censorship over the TV broadcasting, enable the regulator’s arbitrary – without obtaining a court ruling – termination of broadcasting of media outlets independent of the government. These bills introduce unjustified restrictions upon TV content and put in place a legislative prohibition on the future operation of a considerable number of TV channels and radio stations co-founded by foreign citizens,” Benkendorf said in the letter.Benkendorf criticized planned measures against foreign ownership as being similar to Russian legislation.“Peculiarly, the bill talking about a ban for non-residents’ equity partly replicates legislation of the Russian Federation so commonly referred to by the same MPs when disparaging the Russian media regulation regime. However, the Ukrainian language of the law is a lot stiffer as it disallows any transitional periods for Ukraine’s TV broadcasters and does not distinguish between majority and minority shareholders,” he said.Inter attracted the wrath of National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov in January after broadcasting a New Year concert that featured two Russian performers that had publicly supported pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and were known for their pro-Kremlin views.This week’s letters were published ahead of the planned Verkhovna Rada debate on the legislation on Tuesday, which was then postponed until today.Inter Group also this week saw a change in its ownership structure with a stake owned by Russia’s Channel One reportedly being bought out by GDF Media and Inter Media Group for US$100 million, giving the pair 100% control in a move seen as intended to remove the immediate threat of sanctions under the foreign ownership rules.The Ukrainian broadcasters’ protest comes a week after Russian security operatives raided the offices of ATR, the only channel in Crimea broadcasting in the minority Tatar language, in a move seen as part of a wider crackdown on the Tatar minority in the peninsula, which was annexed by Russia from Ukraine last year.
T-Mobile Czech Republic has partnered with digital video technology firm Allegro DVT for the launch of its new mobile TV platform. T-Mobile has selected Allegro DVT’s AL2400 transcoders to deliver its live multiscreen IPTV channels. The OTT delivery system handles transcoding and packaging in all OTT TV formats, and integrates with encryption, subtitling and ad insertion ecosystem.T-Mobile’s subscribers can now watch 49 live services on their mobile devices via dedicated iOS and Android apps.