And the other option, which would be to go for a two-point conversion, would have the same effect.So if the idea behind the change is to give the PAT a little more excitement, this may work. But at the end of the day, Feely doesn’t believe it was necessary.“I just don’t understand the reason why you’re doing something,” he said. “I didn’t think there was a public outcry to change the extra point. I feel like you’re just making a change to make a change. And when you put guys in a precarious situation and you add the risk of injury, I don’t think it outweighs the benefit. And I don’t see a tangible benefit.” It is with that in mind the NFL is set to mess with the extra point this preseason, placing the ball on the 15-yard line, rather than the two, on a PAT attempt. It will make the attempt roughly 33 yards.When asked about the rule change, which will be in effect for Sunday’s Hall of Fame game as well as the first two weeks of the preseason as an experiment, Feely said he was not a fan.“You take a play where, some teams have 70 extra points in a season, and you really aren’t rushing that hard so you don’t have guys that get injured that much on an extra point,” he said. “Move it back to the 15-yard line, you’re going to rush a lot harder, all the offensive linemen are going to be put in precarious situations. There’s going to be a lot more injuries.“So you’re creating 70 more plays for no tangible benefit where the guys can get hurt. It runs kind of counter-intuitive to the changes that they’ve made.”Indeed, much of what the NFL has done over the years with regards to rule changes has been in an effort to make the game safer. And to Feely’s point, the harder players try the more likely they are to get hurt, and they’re more likely to try harder when there’s a better chance of the extra point being missed. Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo – / 16 Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling GLENDALE, Ariz. — In 13 NFL seasons, Jay Feely has attempted 446 extra points. He’s made 444 of them.His success is not uncommon. Last season, NFL kickers combined to miss just five of 1,267 PATs, as they made good on 99.6 percent of their attempts. The extra point as we know it has become a somewhat useless part of the game, essentially giving teams an automatic point following their touchdown. Unless the team opts for the two-point conversion, you might as well just give the scoring team seven points and move on to the kickoff. Top Stories
Crewe, England – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle MagazineBentley Motors is ready to unveil two unique Continental models which have been engineered and designed exclusively for the China market. These special edition cars will be created at Bentley’s Crewe headquarters with both models offering a range of striking features specially commissioned for Chinese customers.The Chinese market is now the third most important single market for Bentley globally in terms of sales and one of the fastest growing. Since Bentley entered China in 2002, sales have grown nearly ten-fold to 421 cars in 2009, a trend that continues despite the recent global recession.From Bentley’s first dealership in Shenzhen, the network has grown to become nine-strong in 2010 (with dealers in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Nanjing and Qingdao) and will grow with four new showrooms to open during the course of this year, the first of which will be in Kunming. Now two new models are to be launched specifically for this unique market.The Continental GT Design Series China, which will debut at the 2010 Auto China Motor Show, highlights the creativity of Bentley’s stylists working in partnership with the company’s color and trim experts to create some vibrant, design-led interiors.The centerpiece of each Design Series China car is the three-tone interior that blends a main leather hide color with accent and insert colors to create a visually impactful cabin for drivers and passengers to enjoy. This skilful and imaginative use of contrasting colors, as well as the application of accent colors to the smallest detail like the car’s seat belts, floor mats, seat piping or the hand-stitching applied to the steering wheel, further underlines this Bentley’s unique appearance.The Design Series China cars will be the first Bentley’s to feature Orange and Magenta as accent colors and the vast Bentley paint palette is further extended with the introduction of Orange Flame and Magenta Metallic.As well as creating a ‘talking point’ with the imaginative use of three contrasting hide colors, Bentley’s styling team has selected some striking wood veneers including Piano Black and dark-stained Burr Walnut. The rare Amboyna veneer, usually only available as a cost option, has also been reserved for the Design Series China editions.These cars will be further distinguished by some subtle exterior and interior ‘Design Series China’ motifs. These include an exterior wing badge, treadplate and name badge positioned on the centre console – all bearing the Design Series China signature.Bentley is also launching the Continental Flying Spur Speed China which retains all the potent performance of the company’s Continental Flying Spur Speed, the world’s fastest luxury four-door saloon, but with a range of engineering upgrades developed for the Chinese market.A bespoke ‘comfort’ suspension setting has been developed for the Speed China which emphasizes the car’s superior ride quality for both driver and passengers, whilst ensuring the class-leading performance of the W12 6-litre engine is in no way diminished. The car is capable of achieving a potential top speed of 200mph/322km/h and a 0-60mph sprint time of just 4.5 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds).The Flying Spur Speed’s distinctive, sporty 20-inch multi-spoke Speed wheels are retained to emphasize the car’s athletic character but for the Speed China, this performance is balanced with greater refinement through the re-tuning of the exhaust to produce a quieter note.The Speed China’s refinement and handling upgrades are also accompanied by a range of design features that accentuate its special edition status. ‘Speed China’ treadplates and wing badges (with a matching badge visible on the centre console) have been created for this car and Bentley’s famous ‘B’ emblem has been affixed to both ‘C’ pillars.Bentley’s ability to add extra, well-executed, touches of luxury can be found in the custom leather cushions for rear passengers which are embroidered with Bentley wings. Each car will also come with a special display case for the ignition key. Geoff Dowding, Regional Director, Asia and Middle East, comments:“Bentley has a long and proud tradition of creating exclusive cars designed to meet the styling and driving tastes of our customers, wherever in the world they might be. Designed and offered exclusively for our customers in China, these special-edition Bentleys showcase our styling and engineering teams’ abilities and also underlines our desire to create cars for this influential market.”Both models can be seen on the Bentley stand in Hall E5 of the Auto China Motor Show in Beijing which runs between 23rd April and the 2nd May in the New International Exhibition Centre.www.bentleymotors.com
Police in Paphos arrested a 29-year-old man for attempting to rob a hotel reception area, authorities said on Saturday.Specifically, a hotel employee told police that on July 29 at approximately 2:30am a man entered the lobby holding a pistol. The 29-year-old attempted to take the money from the till at the counter, police said.The employee managed to take the pistol from the suspect, who then fled without managing to steal the money.According to authorities, the pistol was fake.During investigations, police said that they received a witness statement involving the 29-year-old, who was in turn arrested at around 11pm on Friday night.You May LikeHealthZapBurdened With Doubts; Man Got Down The LadderHealthZapUndoLuxxory25 Dangerous Foods for those with High Blood PressureLuxxoryUndoBukisaCute Dogs That Have Unexpected AncestorsBukisaUndo Famagusta municipality says Varosha entry goes against UN regulationsUndoIran’s Revolutionary Guards publish purported exchange with British warshipUndoGreek Prime Minister in Cyprus for official visitUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
A protest aimed at warning the British public not to buy properties in Cyprus took place on Saturday outside a major property exhibition in London.A small group of people who had bought property in Cyprus gathered outside the Olympia in London where A Place in the Sun Live was taking place. Two Cypriot companies were among those taking part.The aim of the protest was to warn off potential buyers from investing in Cyprus citing their own unfortunate cases that include homes destroyed in an ongoing land-slippage in Pissouri, Swiss Franc house loans and a double selling fraud.The organiser of the protest is Conor O’Dwyer, who is the midst of a 14-year legal battle after buying a property in Cyprus in 2005 only for the developer to sell his house to another British family at a higher price. According to O’Dwyer not only was the original sale to him registered with the land registry department, but the developer also kept the money he had paid.The protesters, holding placards saying ‘Do not buy property in Republic of Cyprus’, handed out flyers to potential buyers as they went inside the exhibition.The event is the official exhibition of the Channel 4 TV series A Place in the Sun and, according to its organisers, “the largest overseas property exhibition in Europe”. It was described as the perfect place to seek guidance through the buying process for a purchaser to find their “dream properties” abroad.On Saturday morning, a discussion was also held at the exhibition on buying property in Cyprus.O’Dwyer said that the protesters were engaging with British buyers but also with property companies from other countries and media from the property industry.“Enough is enough, that’s the theme of the protest,” he said.The leaflets explain to potential buyers the reasons why they shouldn’t buy in Cyprus.“Because corruption (in Cyprus) is rife,” he said.Developers, he said, will tell exhibition visitors they are secured as long as their contracts are in the land registry.“No. My contract is in the land registry and my property developer sold my house to another person at a higher price to profit more,” he said. “A court case in the Republic of Cyprus takes 13 years.”Some of the protesters are victims of the land slippage in Pissouri, he said.One of the homes destroyed in the Limnes land-slippageThe case, which has received widespread publicity in recent months, involves homes built in the Limnes area of Pissouri which have fallen victim to a serious and continuing land slippage.The land is now slipping at almost double the rate it did in 2015 when the movement was up to 40cm per year. By early March, five families had been evicted, while, according to lawyer for the homeowners, Elina Zoi, 15 houses are considered dangerous but the owners continue to live in them as they have nowhere else to go. The land slippage is due to failure to provide adequate infrastructure to manage groundwater, and allowing development to go ahead in the area.“House insurance does not cover landslides and it’s the government’s duty to help,” O’Dwyer said, adding that the only action from the government is forced evictions with the homeless British returning to the UK.Another group at the protest are victims of the mis-selling of Swiss Franc loans to purchase homes in Cyprus.“These contracts have been found as abusive by the EU and settled in other countries, but for some reasons the banks in Cyprus are holding out and are individually putting these people through hell as they go through courts,” O’Dwyer said.Even the consumer protection service in Cyprus deemed these contracts abusive but these people are getting no help at all, he said.This practice, he said, “has seen hundreds of Brits forced to give up their dream homes or face a decade of court action to retain it”.The trend in borrowing in Swiss francs emerged in 2006, when Cyprus was a candidate for euro area membership. Those taking out loans in Swiss francs benefited from considerably lower interest rates compared to the then cost of borrowing in euros. But some four years ago, when the Swiss National Bank moved to unpeg the country’s currency from the euro, led to a sharp revaluation of the Swiss franc and many debtors saw their instalments going through the roof. A debtors’ association had said at the time some 11,000 people were affected and spoke of a scandal, arguing that banks at the time did not adequately inform customers of the exchange-rate risks in taking out loans in a foreign currency.The aim of the protest, he said, was to inform everyone on what’s happened to them “and what’s happening to Brits every day over there in Cyprus”.He expressed hope that their presence there would minimise “the danger to the British buying public” since there were only two Cyprus real estate agents at the exhibition.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoSUVs | Search AdsThese SUVs Will Take Your Breath Away. 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02Jan Kesto posts perfect voting record for 2014 State Rep. Klint Kesto is part of a distinguished group of Michigan legislators with a perfect voting record during the 2013-2014 legislative session.The House took 1,345 roll call votes, and Kesto, R-Commerce Township, did not miss a single vote. The nonpartisan website www.michiganvotes.org compiles the voting histories of lawmakers in the Michigan House and Senate.“As the voice of Commerce Township in Lansing, I believe I should make it a priority to cast a vote on every issue that is put before the House,” Kesto said. “We make decisions that affect every family in the 39th House District, and I must ensure their interests are expressed.”The Legislature last session approved measures to help improve Michigan’s economy and create jobs, along with Kesto-sponsored bills to make roads safer from drunken drivers and to crack down on human trafficking.“We have taken a common-sense approach in making government effective and efficient,” Kesto said. “I look forward to working hard during the current session to give all Michigan residents a brighter future.”##### Categories: Kesto News,News
15Jun Reps. Lauwers, LaFontaine give unique virtual tour of the Capitol Categories: News Lawmakers take Marysville students on field trip using video chatState Reps. Dan Lauwers and Andrea LaFontaine today gave students at Gardens Elementary in Marysville their first-ever virtual tour of the Capitol.Using a video chat program, the lawmakers showed the third-graders around the House and Senate chambers, the governor’s office and the old courtroom for the Michigan Supreme Court. The students even got to experience a view of the Capitol’s dome as Reps. Lauwers and LaFontaine lay down on the floor of the rotunda, often a favorite activity of kids who visit the Capitol in person.“This was a unique way to reach out to students who couldn’t make it to the Capitol, and pique their interest in state government,” said Rep. Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “I loved seeing their enthusiasm as they got an interactive, behind-the-scenes look at what we do in Lansing.”Rep. LaFontaine – who attended high school and college with Mrs. Jessica Hebel, the technology teacher at Gardens Elementary – said Mrs. Hebel has been so innovative in hosting an array of virtual field trips, giving her students a front row seat on tours of local farms, Puerto Rico, and now the state Capitol.“This virtual tour was a great opportunity for students who couldn’t make it to the Capitol building this year,” said Rep. LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township. “Even if they couldn’t be here in person, these students got an interactive, first-hand tour of the beautiful building we are fortunate to work in. And to no surprise on our end, the students were able to rattle off all three branches of government without hesitation. It was a great way for the students to demonstrate what they learned in their classroom lessons on government.”##### PHOTO: Rep. Dan Lauwers, left, and Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, right, video chat with third-grade students at Gardens Elementary in Marysville as they gave the kids a virtual tour of the Capitol.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares Image Source: LiveUAMap.comJuly 28, 2014; CityLabAs technology changes, so do our abilities to engage in meaningful ways. In the case of the conflict in Ukraine, one of those ways is through the mapping of eventful incidents on LiveUAMap.com.Citizen journalists began using the map, running on a platform created by a software team in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, after the ouster of former pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych. Contributions to the site are coded in red (for events favoring Russia and its supporters) and blue (for those on the side of Ukraine and its supporters). Twitter provides much of the avenue for input to allow for the recording of deaths, bombings, fires, and arrests. Photographs that illustrate the conflict, also taken by citizen journalists, are also included. A “nonprofit, volunteer-run project of civic journalism,” LiveUAMap uses contributions from Twitter and Facebook but also scans local news, looking for at least two independent sources on events, though the site expects mistakes to be made as incidents occur and recognizes the need to make timely corrections and be augmented by other journalism efforts. One such case involved the shooting down of MH-17. When the craft was first downed on July 17, the site initially reported it as a different plane. It corrected itself almost immediately.—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share16TweetShare3Email19 SharesJuly 31, 2015; Climate ResolveA coalition of 17 environmental nonprofits in Los Angeles is endorsing a new transit tax for the nation’s second-largest metropolitan area.In a statement released this week, the group implores the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to “prepare a transportation sales tax measure that will reduce emissions, enhance equity, incorporate green infrastructure and integrate a network of waterway trails.”Metro’s board will be considering a transportation ballot measure in 2016 for a sales tax that will help fund additional projects in the region’s long-range plan. The proposed ballot measure will include projects and expenditures over a 30–45 year period and will produce tens of billions of dollars in revenue.The measure is viewed as complementary to a measure approved in 2008 that funded over a hundred miles of fixed-rail and bus rapid transit service serving the region. About 70 percent of L.A.’s transportation funding comes from three local sales taxes. L.A. is in the middle of a massive 50-year transit construction program that is considered the largest public works project in the US.The group is supporting the new tax measure from an environmental perspective, saying that it “should have an explicit goal of increasing public transit and lowering drive alone trips. […] We support building a large network of public transit as an important first step in shifting the region’s transportation mode use.”“We also believe that transportation plays a critical role in land use, public health, and environmental outcomes in the region. Metro has an opportunity not only to transform the region’s transportation system, but also to help the region reduce harmful emissions from private and cargo vehicles, make streets safer to walk and bike, connect more people to jobs and recreational places, and make green infrastructure enhancements that will help address current and future climate and drought challenges,” the open letter goes on to say.Among the points the coalition makes in the letter, published on the website of Climate Resolve, a local advocacy organization:“A future transportation sales tax measure should be guided by the explicit goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector to 1990 levels by 2020, 40 percent below by 2030, 80 percent below by 2050. Preference should be given to transportation projects that reduce GHG or are GHG neutral. California is a national leader on climate change legislation, but the transportation sector is the State’s largest GHG emitter—air quality can be improved with greater investment in public transit and strategies to boost transit ridership, encouraging transit oriented development, implementation of congestion reduction initiatives, reduction of vehicle miles traveled, and expansion of multimodal transportation.”“Funding should be targeted to the most impacted communities in the county, many of which are disadvantaged and heavily impacted by localized air pollution from highway traffic. Transportation equity—having equitable access to quality, affordable transportation options; sharing the benefits and burdens of transportation system investments; and being engaged in the planning process—is critical. A majority of transit riders are people of color whose median incomes are below the county’s median. In L.A., low-income communities and communities of color are exposed to the highest rates of transportation-generated pollution.”“The region’s urban river corridors are strategically located to serve as key non-vehicular transportation routes and provide a green infrastructure network, so a comprehensive plan for implementation of a Los Angeles basin-wide active transportation network should include a waterway network of trails.”“Metro should amend its ‘Green Construction Policy’ to incorporate integrated water management features, such as storm water runoff capture and management, as well as permeable surfaces into the design and construction of all rail, bus rapid transit, arterial or highway improvements. This will have an added benefit of addressing California’s historic drought. Transportation construction should also mitigate impacts on natural habitats.”As one might imagine, there are many voices looking to be heard on the issue. However, lawmakers from both parties agree that the tax is woefully out of date.—Larry KaplanShare16TweetShare3Email19 Shares
Share6Tweet3ShareEmail9 Shareshigh-water truck in Robert, La., March 13, 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard photo) / The National GuardAugust 15, 2016; CNNJust 10 days after ProPublica published an article on the criticisms of the American Red Cross’s disaster response to the floods in Louisiana in March, thirty parishes have now been declared flood disaster areas—nearly half the state. At least five people are dead and 20,000 have needed to be rescued. The Louisiana National Guard and military police have been called out, and so has the Red Cross, so, for now, we must wait to find out whether the ARC had the necessary capacity to meet the challenges of this historic event.They do have the volunteers, apparently. Chapters in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Wisconsin have mobilized volunteers and resources in response to the chapter in Baton Rouge reaching out, but these must be well deployed to be effective.Coordination, communications, and accurate deployment are absolutely critical during a disaster response, but the complaints that surfaced in Louisiana in March are similar to those heard from local disaster response officials in West Virginia regarding the ARC back in January. A national consolidation of ARC chapters that has reduced their numbers by two-thirds has, in the opinion of some, left a presence too disconnected to respond quickly to calls for help in some areas. Among the concerns recently expressed about Louisiana is that the Red Cross had undergone so much turnover that local government emergency managers didn’t know whom to call, and when the calls were made, they were not consistently returned.—Ruth McCambridgeShare6Tweet3ShareEmail9 Shares
Share15Tweet9Share4Email28 SharesBy ukhomeoffice (Rhino horn in packaging) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsAugust 26, 2017; Times Live, Voice of America, and CNNThey are images that no one wants to see: Photos of endangered rhinoceroses rotting in the hot African sun, senselessly slaughtered for their horns. It’s a nightmare scenario that John Hume pays thousands of dollars each month to thwart. He owns the largest private rhino collection, 1,535 at the last count, in the world. He spends $170,000 a month just to secure his heard from poachers. He also takes the additional precaution of removing the rhinos’ horns by tranquilizing the rhinos and painlessly trimming them—unlike poachers, who kill the animals. (The horns are made of keratin, the same protein in human fingernails.)For Hume and other rhino breeders, the cost of protecting the animals has made owning them for breeding stock unsustainable. As a result, Hume has proposed that he should be allowed to sell the horns, which were humanely obtained, to continue to protect the rhinos in his care.“If I don’t sell rhino horn,” Hume told media outlets in August, “in 10 years’ time, my 1,535 rhinos out there are all going to be dead.”In his quest, Hume has battled for years to overturn a ban on the sale of horn in South Africa. International trade of rhino horns had been banned for forty years. In August, the High Court in Pretoria paved the way for his controversial auction, but Hume hit a roadblock when it came to obtaining a permit. Eventually, the minister of environmental affairs was ordered to hand over a permit for the sale of 264 rhino horns, though Hume feels the delay dampened the turnout for the auction.The three-day online auction was the first of its kind since South Africa banned the domestic trade in rhino horn in 2009. Since the ban, those seeking the horns have relied upon an illegal network of poachers, smugglers, and traffickers to meet the demand. Hume feels that flooding the market with his legal horns would reduce the demand for poachers.According to CNN, environmental groups said there is no conservation value in the auction and that is a dangerous mistake to view rhinos as livestock. “The focus of conservation should be on wild rhinos,” says Christina Pretorius of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “Rhinos can’t produce enough horn on a regular basis to stem the insatiable demand.”The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates the number of rhinos poached in South Africa has increased by 9,000 percent, rising from 13 in 2007 to 2014’s record level of 1,215. Rhino horns can fetch up to $100,000 per kilo in illegal black markets, most notably in Vietnam, where they are believed to have medicinal benefits, as well as being considered a status symbol. WWF has been engaged in using modern technology to “chip” rhinos in the wild, enabling conservationists to track them. The chips will also aid in the prosecution of poachers, should they be killed and their horns harvested.Hidden in their horns, the minute chips allow researchers to individually identify Kenya’s endangered rhinos and monitor each animal. And if poachers do strike, those tiny bits of technology could ensure that they—and others along the trafficking chain—pay for their crimes.While the chipping efforts could aid in prosecution of those involved in the illegal trade and poaching, the rhinos would still pay with their lives, which is an unacceptable trade.Hume is keeping the identity of the bidders and the prices paid for the horns confidential for now. A condition of the auction requires buyers to plunk down a $7,000 deposit to participate in the online auction, and winners must agree that the horn will remain in South Africa after purchase. However, those in opposition to the auction are quick to point out that there aren’t enough law enforcement officials to ensure the horns don’t end up on the black market, where the hyperbole has caused prices and poaching to skyrocket.—Carrie Collins-FadellShare15Tweet9Share4Email28 Shares
Share18Tweet9ShareEmail27 SharesImage Source: Kumar’s EditJuly 3, 2018; Arkansas BusinessTrust is a very real concept for nonprofits. We do our work in stewardship or trust and, when that is broken, as we mentioned on Tuesday in our article on Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the results can be long-lasting and far-reaching. In Komen’s case, there are other national organizations standing ready to act as alternatives. By contrast, in Arkansas, patients seeking mental health services may have difficulty finding them in the future. Due to the alleged actions by Preferred Family Healthcare (PFH)’s Robin Raveendran and at least two other executives, the Springfield, Missouri–based nonprofit mental health agency is now suspended as a Medicaid provider in Arkansas.In 2017, Raveendran was terminated from his position, accused of running a scheme to obtain Medicaid reimbursements for over 20,000 illegally billed mental health services between January 1, 2015, and October 19, 2017. The state estimates this amounts to $2.2 million in Medicaid fraud at the direction of Raveendran.According to a Department of Justice press release, former Arkansas state representative Micah Neal pled guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. In return for providing general improvement funds to nonprofits in Arkansas, Neal received $38,000 in kickbacks and bribes from those nonprofits, including PFH. In a similar case, former Arkansas state Senator Jon Woods was found guilty of 15 counts in a federal trial; these charges include participating in a kickback scheme to provide state money to several organizations, one being PFH. Between the two charged politicians, approximately $400,000 in funding was directed to PFH.While these allegations and cases took place in 2017, PFH was not suspended as a Medicaid provider until Raveendran was charged on June 29, 2018. According to Medicaid Inspector General Elizabeth Smith, “When a credible allegation of Medicaid fraud exists, suspension of Medicaid payments is required by federal law.”PFH has 47 locations in Arkansas, as well as off-site service locations, to provide behavioral/mental health, substance abuse disorder, and social support treatment in the state. PFH also operates two residential, detox, and outpatient service centers in Bentonville and Searcy. According to a statement by PFH published in Arkansas Business, PFH has at least 4,000 employees still providing critical services in Arkansas, as well as Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Oklahoma.According to a federal SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) report, Behavioral Health Barometer: Arkansas, 2015, only 46.5 percent of state residents with mental illness received mental health services between 2010 and 2014. Of those treated, only 61.6 percent reported improvement, compared to 70.9 percent nationwide.The University of Arkansas Medical Sciences department states that Arkansas residents have insufficient access to mental health care. Justin Hunt, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Arkansas Medical Science College of Medicine, says that rural parts of the state are left without mental health care access: “We have a significant shortage in many rural regions.” Big steps taken over the past few years have reduced the number of Arkansans who lack health insurance by 57 percent from its one-in-four level in 2014.Medicaid remains the single largest funding source for mental health services in the United States, covering more than a quarter of all mental health patients nationwide. When considering the availability, or lack thereof, of mental health care in Arkansas, the suspension of Medicaid contracts to PFH could catalyze a mental health crisis in the state. In 2014, 595,807 of Arkansas’ 2.8 million citizens were enrolled in Medicaid. Now these individuals are down nearly 50 mental health care providers because of the actions of PFH and members of the Arkansas legislature, putting thousands at risk of mental health crises in an already underserved state.Arkansas relies on nonprofits and 13 community mental health centers (CMHCs) throughout the state. Thirteen state-run CMHCs serve 65 of Arkansas’s 75 counties, with 119 service sites. The Division of Behavioral Health Services states these facilities serve approximately 74,000 individuals annually. Nonprofits not run by the state of Arkansas can likely expect an increase in service needs as the mental health care of PFH’s clients is not only interrupted but no longer available until the state completes its investigation.—Ember UrbachUpdate: This article has been amended to better reflect the current state of Arkansans who lack health insurance.Share18Tweet9ShareEmail27 Shares
NDS has received close to US$19 million (€14.4 million) in litigation costs following the US Supreme Court’s denial of a petition by US broadcaster EchoStar and TV technology company Kudelski over allegations of abetting piracy leveled against NDS in the US.Echostar filed a US$2 billion claim against NDS in 2003, alleging that NDS posted codes compromising the security of its satellite platform on the DR7 website.Abe Peled, executive chairman, NDS Group said: “This brings an end to this long drawn-out process in which we vehemently denied all allegations of piracy which were made against us over a decade ago. Piracy is an issue throughout the industry and injurious to all in the value chain; it is only with the active anti-piracy efforts of companies such as ourselves that the pay-TV industry is able to evolve and continue to enable people to enjoy premium TV viewing.”
Belgian cable operator Telenet is rolling out Latens’ software-based security solution, Titanium, across its customer base.To-date, the operator has deployed over 400,000 set-top boxes featuring Titanium. Telenet is adopting the software-based CAS alongside the other CAS deployed on its network. According to Latens, the software enables one system to run across multiple networks, which means Telenet’s CAS platform can grow and adapt in line with its services.Protecting our assets is extremely important to us,” said Noam Raffaelli, vice-president network and systems engineering of Telenet. “Given the size and diversity of our subscriber base, we needed a content security solution that we could install quickly and cost-effectively, but that would grow and adapt with our requirements. Latens understands our security goals and has also demonstrated that its software-based approach is inherently suited to a business like ours that must move swiftly to bring new services to market and stay one step ahead.”
Ericsson plans to combine elements of the Microsoft Mediaroom technology with its own IPTV middleware to create a new IPTV platform, according to Simon Frost, head of media marketing and communications at Ericsson.Speaking to DTVE at last week’s NAB Show, Frost said the rationale for Ericsson’s decision to acquire Microsoft Media included the acquisition of a significant client base that would make the company the “global number one in IP video” as well as the integration of a workforce with “a lot of skill and experience”, particularly in multiroom DVR solutions.“What we plan to do is take the best of the Ericsson multiroom solution and take the best of Mediaroom and evolve them towards a next-generation solution. That really will be done in tight discussion with customers – especially Mediaroom customers,” said Frost. He said the two companies’ TV technologies were “complementary”, with Microsoft’s platform being “focused on the TV” while Ericsson had developed expertise in delivering IP video to different screens as well as in mobile TV.Frost said that Microsoft Mediaroom customers had expressed satisfaction that the platform would now be in the hands of a company that is committed to the service provider market. “All the feedback we have had from key customers is very positive because we are very committed to this customer base,” said Frost. He said Ericsson’s ability to offer a combination of technology and a “very large service organisation” would be appealing to service providers.Frost said there were no immediate plans to change the Mediaroom brand, although this could change after the deal is closed. “The Mediaroom brand is incredibly strong but we will see how we will evolve that. Ericsson’s brand is Ericsson itself,” he said.
US media group CBS Corp. posted record single quarter financial results yesterday, as its chief executive revealed the firm remained in talks with Netflix about producing original programming for the streaming service.The leading broadcast network’s first quarter results for the three months to March 31, 2013, showed revenues of more than US$4 billion, which was up 6% on the previous year. Operating income was up 18% at US$800 million and earnings per share were up to 73¢ from 59¢ in Q1 2012.“Each of these financial metrics is the best we’ve ever posted in a single quarter, reflecting both the strength of our base businesses and the ongoing success of our strategy to grow the company’s steady and recurring revenue,” said CBS Corp CEO Les Moonves.CBS will finish the current TV season top of all key demographics, including adults ages 18 to 49 for the first time since the 1991-92 season, said Moonves. Furthermore, the company was on track to repurchase $2.2 billion in shares this year, he added.CBS was also keen to play up its partnerships with VOD platforms such as Amazon and Netflix.“We recently renewed and expanded our agreement with Amazon, and we continue to benefit very nicely from our Netflix deal as well. These two deals led to strong double-digit growth in streaming revenues during the quarter,” said Moonves.“As we look to the future, our relationships with Netflix and Amazon will remain very strong, and we’re confident they will continue to be extended beyond their current terms.”Moonves also disclosed the CBS Studios was in talks with Netflix over producing an unnamed original series, as he previous noted in February. “We’re talking to them about producing for them. So the great news is, we can produce for anybody, and we’ve got a lot more capacity,” he added.
Olivier LaouchezA deal for Trace is close to completion with the Modern Times Group tipped to beat rivals to an agreement to buy into the fast-growing international channels group.Trace has been seeking investment and a plethora of channel operators have expressed an interest with the number of parties understood to have looked at the privately-held business reaching double figures.No deal has yet been formally agreed and discussions are ongoing, but sources have told DTVE sister title TBI that MTG is in pole position to take an equity stake in Trace with news expected imminently.Trace’s flagship service is Trace Sports Stars, which is programmed with sports celebrity content. It also runs music channels Trace Urban and Trace Tropical as well as African music channel Trace Africa.MTG’s broadcasting arm Viasat has also been expanding in Africa and if a deal were agreed the addition of the Trace channels will boost its ambitions in the region. It launched the TV1 channel on Tanzania’s digital terrestrial network rolled out the free-to-air Viasat1 channel in Ghana in 2008 and it is now the second-ranked channel in the country. Viasat pay channels are also distributed in Africa.Trace was launched in 2003 by Olivier Laouchez. It has been expanding rapidly and has channels carried in over 150 countries. Millennial viewer-skewed Trace Sport Stars rolled out in 2012 and is carried in 30 million homes. The existing management of the company, including Laouchez and Trace Sports CEO Laurent Dumeau are expected to remain with the business.Recent carriage deals for Trace channels have included Trace Sports Stars on Go in Malta, GET in Norway and Yes in Israel and ER-Telecom’s Dom.ru. It has also done a deal with SatMex subsidiary Alterna TV to get Sports Stars into Lat-Am and US Hispanic homes. Trace Urban recently launched in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland on the Canal Digital platform. Trace also launched a personalised, interactive streaming music service, MyTrace, and a mobile phone brand last year.MTG has been active in the mergers and acquisitions space in recent times building its MTG Studios production and distribution business with the acquisition of Scandi producer Nice Entertainment and UK-based producer and distributor DRG last year. A Trace deal would mark an expansion of its M&A driven activity into the channels area.Both sides declined to comment.
Árpád JordánUPC Hungary has partnered with Netherlands-based Metrological to deploy a cloud-based TV app store on legacy UPC set-top boxes. The app store is available on UPC Hungary’s HD Mediaboxes with users able to access apps by the likes of YouTube, CNN News, Picasa and Facebook on their TVs.Metrological, a provider of cloud-based software application platforms, enlisted ActiveVideo to help build the service, which allows UPC Hungary to virtualise Mediabox functionality.Metrological said its framework gives UPC Hungary the flexibility to deliver new content quickly, as app management and deployment is dealt with centrally by Metrological.Árpád Jordán, CTO UPC Hungary, said: “The app store now enables us to increase customer satisfaction by offering them high quality innovative products, beyond our Live TV and Video on Demand services.”
Yahoo has launched a new site dedicated to esports coverage of major videogames and events.Yahoo Esports will cover live gaming tournaments, focusing on players and competitions with commentary, interviews and in-depth features. It will also maintain industry-wide calendars, stats and player rankings.Yahoo said that Yahoo Esports is part of its continued investment in Yahoo Sports, and will tap into a growing industry that had global audience reach of over 226 million in 2015.“We’re approaching our coverage of esports with the same tenacity and professionalism we always have with Yahoo Sports, News and Finance,” said Bob Condor, vice president of Yahoo Sports Media.“Coupled with our experience in building great products, we’ve gone out and assembled an experienced and innovative content team that will cover esports from every angle.”The move marks the latest investment on the esports space following YouTube’s rollout of its dedicated YouTube Gaming video service in the UK and US in August 2015 and Amazon’s US$970 million buyout of Twitch in August 2014.Videogame enthusiasts watched 459,366 years worth of video on Twitch in 2015, according to recent stats from the games-focused video platform and community.
Comcast-owned movie ticketing firm Fandango is to launch a transactional VoD service on March 30 after acquiring the M-GO platform earlier this year.US-based Fandango will rebrand M-GO as FandangoNOW, which will offer “massive library of new release and catalogue movies from all major studios and next-day TV shows for purchase and rental”.FandangoNOW, billed as Fandango’s “first-ever premium on-demand service”, will be offered across the web, iOS, Android and Roku devices, as well as Samsung, LG and Vizio smart TVs.This comes after Fandango, which is part of NBCUniversal parent Comcast, bought M-GO from DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor“The launch of FandangoNOW is a huge milestone for the company, as we aim to deliver the best movie experience anytime and anywhere, across the total movie lifecycle,” said Fandango president Paul Yanover. “We’re especially thrilled to launch FandangoNOW in time for 2016’s most anticipated in-home debuts, including 2015 blockbusters and Oscar contenders, for which we sold millions of tickets during their theatrical release.”Later this year, Fandango will introduce movie ticket and home entertainment products, which will allow customers to pre-order digital downloads of movies they plan to see, or downloaded previous franchise instalments before newer movies hit the cinemas.Fandango recently announced the acquisition digital movie brands Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, which, added to FandangoNOW, will mean “the most comprehensive resource for best-in-class movie information, theatrical ticketing, video content for movie discovery and home entertainment”, according to the company.Going by comScore stats from December 2015, this will increase Fandango’s audience reach to more than 63 million unique users per month.The launch of FandangoNOW comes at a crossroads for the movie industry, which had been significantly hit by illegal downloading.Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video have both played with the traditional theatre window by acquiring and financing their own exclusive movies, while Napster founder Sean Parker this month revealed The Screening Rom, a controversial premium VOD service that would see films released digitally at the same time as their cinema release.
Philippe DaumanViacom owner Sumner Redstone has hit out at CEO and executive chairman Philippe Dauman, saying he has made “baseless attacks and misrepresentations” and removed him from a trust that controls Viacom and CBS.A bitter war of words has since broken out with media commentators suggesting Redstone’s move is designed to put his daughter Shari in place to succeed him, not the previously anointed Dauman.Redstone released a statement claiming Dauman’s fellow Viacom board members George Abrams, Frederic Salerno had ignored requests for a briefing on improving Viacom’s “outlook and business shape”.Ninety-two-year-old Redstone is allegedly concerned by Dauman’s strategy to sell a significant minority stake in Viacom film unit Paramount Pictures, and has moved to confirm he remains mentally competent to run his businesses after Viacom board members said they no longer had access to him.“Instead, Viacom criticised Mr Redstone for not speaking while participating by phone in a board meeting that followed,” the statement read. “As Viacom knows well, Mr Redstone has significant speech impairment and, for much of the past two years, has not relied on verbal statements at board meeting to make his opinion known.”Redstone has removed Dauman and Abrams from the board of trustees at National Amusements, the parent company of both Viacom and CBS Corp “based on what Mr Redstone believes are the best interests of beneficiaries and shareholders”.The board is expected to select Redstone’s successor, though the statement said he remained “engaged, attentive and as opinionated as ever” – echoing words spoken by Dauman six months ago.“Viacom’s false and unfair statements to the media, as well as Mr Dauman’s opportunistic claims of incapacity, now make it problematic to move forward with any direct meeting and briefing as Mr Redstone had previously requested,” the statement continued. However, “Mr Redstone remains intent on receiving the briefing through his advisers, a request that still has not been responded to despite Mr Redstone’s rights as a director,” it said.“Unless Viacom’s board presents a concrete plan that convinces him otherwise, Mr Redstone continues to believe that it is in the best interest of Viacom that Paramount Pictures should remain wholly owned by the parent company,” the statement continued.“Mr Redstone regrets that Mr Dauman has diverted resources to these baseless attacks and misrepresentations, rather than focusing on the continuing challenges that are faced by Viacom.”Viacom said it was “troubled” by the developments. In a statement, it claimed Redstone had been briefed and issued a counter claim that the media mogul had in fact refused to meet Viacom directors. “Despite numerous requests, Lead Independent Director Fred Salerno and a fellow board member, who represent all shareholders, have still been unable to meet with Mr Redstone. The Sumner Redstone we knew would never refuse a meeting about his businesses and he certainly would not want advisors to stand in for him. Mr Salerno and his fellow Directors remain willing and eager to meet with Sumner at any time.”Shari Redstone, meanwhile, issued her own statement: “l fully support my father’s decisions and respect his authority to make them.”