JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD — Sgt. Roger Daniels knows he’s alive and still walking because his Army-issued helmet did something it wasn’t supposed to do.When enemy fighters ambushed his patrol in Afghanistan last year, his helmet somehow stopped a large-caliber machine gun round that should have easily penetrated it and gravely wounded the Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier.Instead the bullet pierced the helmet, rattled around a bit and caused only a concussion and some cuts.Daniels, 22, got to pick up the helmet Friday for the first time since the August 2012 attack.The Army’s Virginia-based Program Executive Office Soldier, which manages the equipment soldiers use, had kept the helmet for much of the past year to study how it saved Daniels’ life.The information that was gleaned could improve plans for the Army’s next standard-issue helmet.Daniels broke into a wide smile when he lifted it. He seemed to marvel at the equipment and his close brush with death.“I guess I just got lucky,” he said.Daniels serves in Lewis-McChord’s 109th Military Intelligence Battalion of the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. Soldiers in his unit worked hard to get the helmet back from the Virginia office because they knew it was special to him. They also used his experience to encourage soldiers to maintain their equipment and listen when they’re advised on how to use it correctly.The message is simple but powerful: “We had a soldier who was shot in the head and walked away with only a concussion,” said Capt. David White of the intelligence battalion.
Logan Paul, after being penalized multiple times by YouTube for outrageous behavior and posting content that violated its policies, has been granted a pardon by the Google-owned video giant to reprise his starring role in YouTube original movie “The Thinning: New World Order.”Dystopian teen thriller “The Thinning: New World Order” is releasing on Wednesday (Oct. 17) on the YouTube Premium subscription service.The movie is a sequel to “The Thinning,” released in 2016, the first original feature film ordered by YouTube’s originals team. Both films are set in an overpopulated world in the future in which students who fail to pass a test are executed.In the sequel, Logan Paul reprises his turn as Blake Redding, the son of a Texas governor, who is apparently killed after he failed his “thinning” exam. But it turns out that Blake is part of a group of kids spared by the authoritarian regime but enslaved in a secret underground work camp — and he must fight to escape and reconnect with the the love of his life. “The Thinning: New World Order” co-stars Peyton List (Disney Channel’s “Jessie”), Lia Marie Johnson (“@tagged”), Calum Worthy (“American Vandal”) and Charles Melton (“Riverdale”). The movie is produced for YouTube by eOne and Legendary Digital Studios; Legendary also produced the first movie.Paul, who currently has 64 million follows online (including about 18.6 million subscribers for his main YouTube channel), on Tuesday tweeted a link to the film’s teaser trailer with the message: “surprise 😈.”The reason it’s a surprise: YouTube in January cut business ties with Paul, pulling his channels from the Google Preferred premium ad program after he posted a video on Dec. 31 showing a person who died from a suicide (which he subsequently deleted). YouTube also dropped Logan Paul from its original series “Foursome” and suspended post-production on “The Thinning: New World Order” because of the suicide video.In a statement, a YouTube rep said: “The entire cast and crew worked extremely hard to complete this film last year. In fairness to all of them and the fans who have been asking for the sequel, we decided to release ‘The Thinning: New World Order.’”According to YouTube, Logan Paul is currently in good standing in terms of YouTube policies and is carrying advertising. However, his channels remain ineligible for Google Preferred. In a Feb. 5 video, Paul shot a Taser at a dead rat, after which YouTube pulled all ads from his channels for a brief period.Like the 2016 movie, “The Thinning: New World Order” is directed by Michael Gallagher, who penned the script with Steve Greene. Gallagher, alongside his Cinemand partners Jana Winternitz and Michael Wormser, produced alongside eOne’s Greg Siegel.Watch the teaser trailer for “The Thinning: New World Order”: ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Popular on Variety
The last time we got a new Pokemon game it was a big deal due to it being the first outing for the series on the Nintendo 3DS. Pokemon X and Pokemon Y launched on October 12th last year worldwide, and it looks as though the next Pokemon game will arrive just over a year later.In a surprise announcement, Nintendo has today unveiled Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire along with a worldwide release window of November 2014. You can watch the announcement video below:Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire will be well known to Pokemon fans, having originally appeared on the Game Boy Advance back in 2003. They formed (along with the later released Emerald) the 3rd generation of Pokemon known as ‘advanced generation.’ The gameplay is as you’d expect: catch all the Pokemon and defeat the Elite Four.New features in the original outings included double battles consisting of two Pokemon at the same time, as well as the addition of Inhale abilities and Natures. Inhale unlocked powers for use in battles, and Natures tweaked the stats of a Pokemon while they battled.You could say the games were a major success, managing to sell over 16 million copies just over a decade ago. No details of what is changing for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have been released just yet, but the most obvious update will be to the graphics. We’ll get a major overhaul, possibly a viewing angle change like we saw in X & Y, and of course 3D because it’s on 3DS. Best Price at AmazonI’d expect the first gameplay video to appear in the next couple of months before Nintendo really starts to pile on the marketing nearer the end of the summer.
Each system works by making use of embedded sensors – physical devices that are embedded in the roadway, parking lot or other parking sites. Information from the sensors, care of Cisco, is routed to a cloud based facility where data can then be disseminated to drivers via smartphone using the Streetline app, Parker.The app allows drivers to actually see, in real-time, where available spaces are located on a map. Once they’ve chosen which one they’d like to use, the app then offers a hands-free navigational assist to help them get there as quickly as possible. Parker also shows pricing and the time frame during which parking spots are available for use. Also, users can tell the system where they’d like to go, to a movie theater, for example, and Parker will display parking lots or garages in the vicinity. And for those that sometimes forget where they parked their car, Parker allows their spot to be pinned to a map as they leave their vehicle.Some of the networks use sensors embedded in parking meters, most of the rest are installed by drilling a golf ball sized hole in the pavement and pasting it in place. The top of the sensor is exposed and lies even with the pavement, allowing for measuring light changes or the actual presence of a vehicle using a magnetometer. Information from each sensor is sent to a Cisco WiFi mesh network which optimizes the most efficient path to the cloud via a control box located in a central nearby facility. The Parker app is available for both iOS and Android devices. IBM looks to take pain out of parking © 2012 Phys.org (Phys.org)—A partnership between smart parking solutions provider Streetline, Inc. and Cisco has resulted in the implementation of WiFi networking systems based on embedded sensors and a smart phone app currently being used in several major cities in the United States. The system is expected to reduce the amount of time drivers spend looking for parking spaces and to increase the amount of revenue cities are able to get from motorists paying to park. The partnership has already led to networks being installed in several California cities as well as in Washington D.C., Knoxville TN, Reno NV and Fort Lauderdale, FL. Citation: Partnership bringing real-time parking information to urban motorists (2012, December 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-12-partnership-real-time-urban-motorists.html Explore further More information: www.theparkerapp.com/ This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government is all set to bring Tarapith and Purulia on its helicopter connectivity map soon.Suvendu Adhikari, the state Transport department minister, in the state Assembly on Wednesday said the state government is soon going to introduce helicopter service from Kolkata to Tarapith and Purulia.It may be mentioned that Tarapith is a temple town in Birbhum where thousands of devotees turn up every day and the state government has taken several steps to improve the infrastructure at Tarapith. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeNecessary infrastructure has been put in place so that people do not face inconvenience while they visit the place to offer Puja to goddess Tara. Roads connecting the place have been strengthened and widened.Now, the initiative has been taken to introduce helicopter service so that people reach Tarapith in far less time.Similarly, Purulia has also become one of the major tourist spots with the development of necessary infrastructure.In the past seven years, the Mamata Banerjee government has taken several steps for the development of Purulia. Now, people visit the place almost round the year except a few months during summer. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe tourism sector will receive further impetus with the introduction of this helicopter service.A tender has been floated to engage the operator for the helicopter services from Kolkata to Purulia and Tarapith.Currently, the helicopter service is available from Kolkata to Sagar, Digha, Shantiniketan and Malda.The helicopters, which operate from Kolkata to these four places, are four-seater ones. But helicopters operating from Kolkata to Tarapith and Purulia will have more seating capacity. It is learnt that eight-seater helicopters will operate between these places. It may be mentioned that soon after coming to power Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had given stress on air-connectivity between all the districts. Initiatives were also taken to construct helipads in almost all districts.The Mamata Banerjee government has ensured flight services in Cooch Behar. The same in Bagdogra and Andal has also improved. The work to improve infrastructure of Malda and Balurghat airports is nearing completion. Moreover, many steps have also been taken to develop the Chharra Airstrip in Purulia.
In a major setback for many women across the country, the Supreme Court has said that a daughter’s right to ancestral property does not arise if the father died before the amendment to Hindu law came into force in 2005.The apex court held that amended provisions of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, do not have retrospective effect. The father would have to be alive on 9th of September, 2005, if the daughter were to become a co-sharer with her male siblings.A bench of Justices Anil R Dave and Adarsh K Goel held that the date of a daughter becoming co-parcener is on and from the commencement of the Act.
Four of the walls of Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station, one of Delhi’s busiest stations, are now sporting vibrant paintings of the icons of the national capital, including the Lotus Temple, India Gate and the Delhi Metro. The graffiti at the Nizamuddin station also aims at educating passengers on cleanliness and hygiene in daily life, a statement said. The beautification work has been done by public art campaign titled ‘meformycity’, an ongoing graffiti art initiative by Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance which will also be extended to 11 other key railway stations across India. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThese include stations in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Coimbatore, Patna, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar and Jaipur. The initiative had come to life in 2018 and reached 10 major cities in 2018, as per the organisers. “‘meformycity 2.0’ is an extension to our dreams of keeping cities and environment clean. Through this we aim to spread the message to 12 cities and sensitise citizens about the importance of cleanliness and hygiene,” the company’s MD and CEO Anuj Mathur said. In addition to public art, a creative campaign will depict the message of ‘Mera Shehar, Meri Pehchan’ (my city, my identity) on the supporter’s digital handles.
Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 2 min read The global mobile web industry is expected to grow from $1 billion in 2005 to $15.3 billion in 2010. Statistic Source: Pelorus Group Only 20% of businesses reported computer intrusions to legal authorities last year, keeping incidents quiet so as not to damage their images. Statistic Source: FBI/Computer Security Institute IM Spam, Spam IMYou have e-mail filters, e-mail spam control and e-mail archives. Now it’s a good time to apply the same scrutiny to IM. A recent Radicati study shows that the majority of North American companies now use IM. But security and archiving is often overlooked. (The Radicati study covered usage, but didn’t cover security and archiving.)Viruses and worms spread over IM are increasing. A report by IMlogicshowed a 2,700 percent increase over the previous year in new IM threats including viruses, worms, spam, malware and phishing attacks in the second quarter of 2005. A variety of companies now offer security solutions for IM. They range from network appliances like AkonixSystem’s L7 CM5000 to solutions like IMlogic’s IM Manager. FaceTime Communicationsis another major player at this level. These programs can cost in the thousands, but they provide heavy-duty security, control and archiving features.If those offerings are more than you need, check into basic protection from your anti-virus provider. Both McAfeeand Symantecinclude IM scanning in their anti-virus software. Zone Labsoffers IM Secure Pro software for $20. Whatever you go with, it’s a good idea to keep a handle on your business IM. This story appears in the November 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » November 1, 2005 Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now »
A male Alsatian crossbreed dog was badly burnt and also suffered a cut to its leg in Barrack Road over the weekend.The dog sustained a major cut to its front leg. Speaking to the pet owners, they say the wound was most likely inflicted by a whip striking the dog.They found blood marks throughout the entire yard.The dog then managed to get out of the yard over the weekend and when the owners went to find him, they found that the dog had been badly burnt behind its right ear. The owners are convinced that people from the area abused their dog.Also read: Shocking animal cruelty: Dog assaulted with a rock in LadysmithAlso read: Beware: Dog poisoning hits Ladysmith hard with ‘Two-StepAlso read: Update: Savannah recovering well after poisoning Also read: Update: Savannah back on her feet after being poisoned“How heartless can people be to harm a pet in this way?” they lament.The owners add that if they find out who did this or catch them doing it again, they will lay charges against that perpetrators.This is the second reported case this week of a dog being badly abused. A dog in the Egerton area was hit with a rock, injuring its front paw. The dog had to be taken to the vet for treatment.Click to receive news links via WhatsApp. Or for the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Join us there! WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite
April 26, 2018 629 Views digital products Fannie Mae FinTech henry cason technology 2018-04-26 David Wharton Innovating Throughout the Mortgage Lifecycle In his role as SVP, Head of Digital Products at Fannie Mae, Henry Cason is responsible for the design, development, and launch of a digital suite of products and services across single-family residential mortgage loan life cycle. He is also responsible for fostering the integration of Fannie Mae’s technology and business infrastructure to help Fannie’s customers grow and create value in the marketplace. The Head of Digital Products integrates product development functions across Fannie Mae’s Single-Family business in mortgage origination and underwriting, loan acquisitions, conduit and capital markets business, as well as servicing and asset management portfolios. He leads a team of officers and works with senior leaders in credit policy, strategy, insights, and marketing, as well as Fannie’s customer delivery teams.Cason spoke exclusively with MReport about riding the wave of technological innovation, Fannie Mae’s testing and development processes, and what emergent technologies have the potential to reshape the mortgage and housing landscape.As Head of Digital Products at Fannie Mae, how do you and your team encourage technological innovation?In our Single-Family division, we build and deploy technology that is tailored to our customers and is also used internally by our firm. That technology follows a mortgage’s lifecycle: from the front end of our business—how do we underwrite loans?—all the way through to delivery of those loans into Fannie Mae. The technology we build is also used by capital markets investors and helps ensure liquidity is available in the marketplace. On the back end of our business, technological innovation shapes how those mortgages are serviced, whether that’s performing or non-performing loans. My role is one of taking an end-to-end view across the lifecycle and understanding how we can introduce digital functionality to the marketplace to make it easier for our customers to do business with us. We’re already starting to see the early benefits of our efforts. What are some of the projects you are working on right now?The first one is what we call our Single Source Validation (SSV) project, which is building upon our Day 1 Certainty program. Just to give you an overview, we rolled out Day 1 Certainty a year and a half ago. It offers the ability to access source data on employment income and asset verification, and use that data within the Desktop Underwriter (DU) process. If you had gotten approved through DU by using that data directly from the source, then we were able to offer relief on certain reps and warrants for our customers to provide certainty on that loan. A year after we first introduced Day 1 Certainty, we rolled out an enhancement to that program where we’re able to now calculate not only assets but income and employment from asset data. I’m excited about that because it’s a different way of thinking in the industry. It lowers costs in how you go about validating these sources of data. As we get through our pilot and into production, it will become an innovative game changer for us and our lender customers.SSV has also created very significant process efficiencies. If we can get asset data directly from a bank through a service provider and use that asset data in DU, that’s a much safer, much more sound process than asking a borrower to bring in three months’ worth of paper bank statements. It’s saving time on the back and forth of trying to get the bank statements, trying to get the right bank statements, and then interpreting the bank statements. Going directly to the source and using that data has created a significant amount of process efficiency for our customers.The second project is a bit higher level. Through our API (automated programming interface) platform, we’re starting to expose pieces of Fannie Mae data to target specific process pain points for our lender customers. It’s exciting because, through our APIs, our customers can access pieces of our data more quickly. It’s now easier for us to integrate into their current technology and manage micro pieces of data from Fannie Mae and inject it into a process point that allows them to make faster decisions.As we continue to innovate, we’re spending lots of time with our customers, helping them not only integrate the technology or the functionality but also working with them on ways they can change their business processes to take advantage of the value proposition.Can you tell me how your development and testing processes work?First and foremost, we put the customer at the center of everything we do at Fannie Mae. Secondly, we are very mature in our agile engineering practices. We have been operating from an agile perspective at the firm for the last four years. We have intersected the customer-centric mindset with our agile development process. That translates directly into how we build and roll out products. We’ve put a digital operating model in place at the firm to spur innovation and deliver faster. Our operating model has three main tenets: empowerment, collaboration, and test and learn. We now have our agile teams—we call them squads. They consist of about seven to nine people, and they’re empowered to solve a problem, collaborate, and test and learn with customers. It could be a large problem that could take two years to solve, or it could be a small problem that takes three months. We are customer-insight driven, meaning we collect insights from our customers before we start building. From those insights, we’re able to develop a hypothesis. Then, we pull our customers into those discussions, and we validate those hypotheses through testing and learning. This is a big change for us because in the past we would build what we thought our customers wanted, and get something into production. Then there would be, in some cases, little to no value, because we didn’t start innovating with the customer at the beginning of the process. A part of this operating model is to pull a series of customers into that problem-solving process so you get their point of view and you put yourself in their shoes. We co-create with them.Being agile and working in what we call two-week sprints, we’re always able to have customers looking at what we’re building. It could be wireframes; it could be prototypes; it could be working software. But every two weeks, we get some customer input on what we’re doing. That allows us to pivot quickly. That’s part of our agile journey, and that’s pulling our customer into our agile journey.Lastly, for some of our innovations, we do a series of test-and-learn pilots where we’re able to run, concurrent, a number of concepts and get that feedback from our customers as they’re using it. When we call something a pilot, it’s a piece of code that is in production that customers use. Did it add the value that we think it did? We’re very metrics driven now, so any pilot we enter, we’ve got a customer hypothesis and a series of metrics we use to manage and measure value.What are some of the technologies that you think have the potential to reshape the industry?The move to the cloud. You get a different perspective on resilience and security because all of that’s built in. Cloud, for us, has been transformative. It also makes you build things differently. You don’t build these big applications anymore. You build smaller, which is important. APIs have been, and will continue to be, transformative for the industry because of their low-cost. It’s allowing not just Fannie Mae, but all sorts of entities in mortgage finance to exchange pieces of data real-time and then insert it into business processes.We also think Blockchain and artificial intelligence have a lot of applications in mortgage finance. Those are the big emerging tech areas that I see changing mortgage finance over the next 24 to 36 months. What is something that you wish more people understood about your job?When you read my title, “Head of Digital Products,” most people gravitate to, “Oh, you’re building a bunch of cool tech.” Well, we are building a bunch of cool tech, but it’s tech that’s adding value to our customers. My job is really about transformation and culture change inside the walls of Fannie Mae and the mortgage finance transformation outside of the walls of Fannie Mae.We’re doing it under the digital umbrella, but it’s a way we can pivot and engage our customers differently. By engaging those customers differently, we’re able to bring different types of value to the marketplace. in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, News, Technology Share
Cyprus remains committed to the efforts for a peaceful solution, the withdrawal of Turkish troops and the implementation of UN principles, deputy government spokeswoman Klelia Vassiliou said on Tuesday on the occasion of the anniversary of the second phase of the Turkish invasion.On August 14, 1974 the Turkish military launched its second offensive, taking Famagusta on the east and Morphou on the west.“On a day like this our thoughts are on occupied Famagusta, Mesaoria, Karpasia and Morphou,” Vassiliou said.She said that 44 years ago, in violation of the ceasefire that was agreed, as well as in violation of all principles of international law and order, Turkey proceeded to the second phase of the offensive against Cyprus, ultimately occupying 37 per cent of the island and 70 per cent of the economy.Vassiliou said that since then, the Turkish army, despite the relevant UN resolutions and decisions, forced a third of the Greek Cypriot population to abandon their homes and properties, turning them into refugees in their own homeland.“We remain committed to a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem with the withdrawal of the occupying army and the implementation of the UN guidelines for a solution, as well as to the principles and values of the EU, of which our country is a member state,” she said.Vassiliou reiterated the Greek Cypriot side’s position that Cyprus negotiations should resume from the point they were halted last year in Crans-Montana.“We are looking forward to a peaceful future of coexistence and shared prosperity with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots,” she added.Through negotiations, Cyprus seeks a viable and lasting agreement that will make it a normalised, independent state “without an occupation army or any control by any other state”, the spokeswoman added.You May LikeViralScape30 Giant Dogs That Are RealViralScapeUndoBermuda Cruises | Search AdsBlissful Bermuda Cruises – See The Sights Of Island LifeBermuda Cruises | Search AdsUndoColormood BlueYou’ll Find Such Outfits In The Wardrobe Of Every FashionistaColormood BlueUndo Clear winner in first round of Kition bishop voteUndoLimassol police investigating attempted murderUndoFour dead in California garlic festival shootingUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
14Sep House approves Rep. Lucido bill to end parental rights in FGM cases Categories: Lucido News,News The state House today overwhelmingly supported legislation by state Rep. Peter Lucido which allows the termination of parental rights for anyone who has their child undergo a female genital mutilation (FGM).“A female genital mutilation has no places in the United States, Michigan and especially in a family’s home,” said Lucido, vice chair of the House Law and Justice Committee. “Nobody who forces their child to undergo this procedure should be legally allowed to be a parent to that child. This legislation allows for the revocation of parental rights in the best interest of the child.”The bill follows a seven-bill bipartisan legislative package signed into law in June which criminalized the act of a female genital mutilation – any procedure performed on girls intended to remove or damage the external female genitalia. Lucido voted in support of the package, but believes a conviction should have an added penalty for a parent or guardian.“The legislation we approved addressed the act of the FGM itself, transportation to the act, removal of medical license, and extending the statute of limitations for civil and criminal justice for the victims,” Lucido said. “What about the parents who do this? They don’t deserve to be a parent and we had to impose that as an option in state law.”The previously approved FGM legislation, and Lucido’s bill, follow a February incident where two young girls from Minnesota were subjected to the procedure at a southeast Michigan clinic. A Livonia couple was arrested on federal charges in April after performing the procedure afterhours at their medical clinic, while a third individual has been fired from their emergency room doctor position for performing the procedure at the same Livonia clinic.House Bill 4716 advances to the state Senate for its review.###
State Representative Daniela R. García invites residents of Ottawa County to her regularly scheduled office hours on Monday, Nov. 6.“Being accessible to Ottawa County residents is a top priority for me,” García said. “Talking to people in the community and answering any questions they have about their state government is one of the most important aspects of my job.”Office hours take place at the following times and locations:11 a.m. to noon at Gary Byker Memorial Library, 3388 Van Buren St. in Hudsonville;1 to 2 p.m. at Howard Miller Public Library, 14 S. Church St. in Zeeland; and3 to 4 p.m. at Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave. in Holland.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend are invited to contact her Lansingoffice by phone at 866-908-4327 or via email at DanielaGarcia@house.mi.gov. Categories: Garcia News,Garcia Photos,News 31Oct Representative García invites local residents to November office hours
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 8, 2014; Pittsburgh Business TimesPittsburgh’s new mayor, Bill Peduto, sent a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett this week recommending that the city remain under the state’s Financially Distressed Municipalities Act as it recovers from the Great Recession, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.Also known as Act 47, the law gives the state the power to declare certain municipalities as financially distressed, providing for debt restructuring, limiting the ability to obtain government funding, authorizing participation in federal debt adjustments and bankruptcy, and allowing the consolidation of contiguous municipalities to relieve financial distress.The city’s ability to negotiate payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) from local nonprofits is strengthened if Pittsburgh remains under the auspices of the Act. The city, once America’s steel center, is home to many large educational and medical nonprofit institutions that are exempt from property taxes. Pittsburgh is the birthplace of the PILOT movement, and its program is the nation’s largest.The Times said that “Peduto said the city is at a ‘critical juncture’ in its financial recovery and charted four major areas to be addressed before Pittsburgh can emerge from state oversight: pensions, debt, recovery plan recommendations, and a long-term PILOT program with Pittsburgh’s nonprofits.”The new mayor specifically expressed interest in using Act 47 to leverage greater revenue from the nonprofits that own large properties in Pittsburgh. Currently, the city has gone court to revoke the nonprofit status of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, its largest nonprofit and largest employer. Doubtless the city looks back on the days when US Steel was its largest employer and paid taxes on its huge steel plants and other holdings.The request from Mayor Peduto continues the ongoing debate over the tax-exempt status of nonprofits in America’s cash-strapped cities, which features two key sectors of society, both pledged to improve communities and help people in need, fighting over diminishing financial resources.—Larry KaplanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share33TweetShareEmail33 SharesImage Credit: Aine CreedonNovember 28, 2017, The Boston GlobeNPQ is closely following the Dakota Access Pipeline worldwide solidarity movement.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District Commander informed the Standing Rock Sioux tribal leader, Dave Archambault II, by letter last Friday that the federal land north of the Cannonball River will be closed for “safety concerns” beginning on December 5th (ironically, the birthday of Gen. George Armstrong Custer). (On Saturday, November 26th, Archambault responded with a letter of his own.) There are no plans for forcible removal; however, it does not go unnoticed that more than 525 people have already been arrested at the Standing Rock Camp to date.Known also by its hashtag #NoDAPL, the uprising began humbly in the spring of 2016 by LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a Standing Rock Sioux elder, long before the Dakota Access Pipeline entered the mainstream lexicon. She established a camp along the banks of the Cannonball River as a form of spiritual resistance to the pipeline that is planned to cross beneath the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as well as part of Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.On this day, 153 years ago, my great-great-grandmother Nape Hote Win (Mary Big Moccasin) survived the bloodiest conflict between the Sioux Nations and the U.S. Army ever on North Dakota soil. An estimated 300 to 400 of our people were killed in the Inyan Ska (Whitestone) Massacre, far more than at Wounded Knee. But very few know the story. As we struggle for our lives today against the Dakota Access pipeline, I remember her. We cannot forget our stories of survival.LaDonna Brave Bull Allard explains that the river’s original name is Inyan Wakangapi Wakpa (River that Makes the Sacred Stones), which informs the name of the site of the present-day resistance. “We are the river, and the river is us.”While many thousands of people have travelled to join in the protest, this Boston Globe article carefully examines the resistance movement from the point of view of the Native Americans. They are protecting their sacred land. This action involves more of themselves and their ancestors than protesting the construction of the oil pipeline, which they call “the black snake.” With more than 100 Native American nations converging on Standing Rock, this is reportedly the largest gathering of Native people in more than 100 years.As NPQ has noted before, the pipeline corridor was repositioned from its original route north of Bismarck after citizens spoke out against the threat the pipeline posed to their drinking water—a hazard affirmed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Then, the Corps was accused of failing to fulfill its federal mandate for consultation with the Standing Rock Tribe before signing off on the new route. The Native American protectors’ nonviolent resistance has since been met with private security guards using attack dogs evoking disturbing memories of 1963 Birmingham.As the Globe reports:The psychological toll can be significant, as well. Fatigue and a lack of tangible progress have left many on edge, occasionally prompting loud confrontations among protesters throughout the camp. Some have left families behind to be here, and these days, said Camp—who has four sons back home—it is not uncommon to walk past tents and hear people crying.The December 5th deadline looms and adds to the rising frustration and tension. Last week, police used water hoses, rubber bullets, and tear gas on some 400 protesters, which left nearly 20 people hospitalized.LaDonna Brave Bull Allard concludes her message in a way that the Globe can only approximate in its earnest attempt to see this movement from the point of view of those who started it and who will have to live for years to come with its aftermath.My father is buried at the top of the hill, overlooking our camp on the riverbank below. My son is buried there, too. Two years ago, when Dakota Access first came, I looked at the pipeline map and knew that my entire world was in danger. If we allow this pipeline, we will lose everything.We are the river, and the river is us. We have no choice but to stand up.Today, we honor all those who died or lost loved ones in the massacre on Whitestone Hill. Today, we honor all those who have survived centuries of struggle. Today, we stand together in prayer to demand a future for our people.December 5th will come and go, and a few weeks later the Trump administration begins. If President-elect Trump holds to his campaign promise to restore the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning project will potentially inspire resistance dwarfing what LaDonna Brave Bull Allard began. How will a Trump administration respond to widespread grassroots civil disobedience? For those who are as committed to their faith and cause as LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, the answer to that question is irrelevant. There is no choice but to resist, to protect.—James SchafferShare33TweetShareEmail33 Shares
Share17Tweet21Share8Email46 SharesBy US Department of Labor (L-17-07-21-A-016) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsAugust 13, 2017; Washington PostKnowing who is trying to influence public policy and how they organize their arguments is a critical skill for anyone who has an interest in good government. For example, the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) criteria evaluate public education on how effectively it supports the strategy of choice and privatization.On the surface, ALEC is just an average, run-of-the-mill, nonpartisan think tank focused on state and local government. It describes itself as “America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.“ Among its members, which include 25 percent of state legislators, are representatives of businesses that seek to influence state governments and their policies. Through their model bills, they seek “real, state-based solutions to encourage growth, preserve economic security, and protect hardworking taxpayers.”ALEC’s significant influence in many state houses makes the positions they advocate important to those who count on state government to be part of the solution to important community issues. Their recommended legislation serves as the basis for new policy and law in many states. But, is their interest in solving problems faced by individuals and improving the effectiveness of government programs? Or, are they more interested in an approach to government that supersedes the effectiveness of the programs they advocate for? Their approach to improving public education provides an insight to how important those questions are in considering ALEC’s work and that of other public influencers.ALEC’s Report Card on American Education describes their model for educational success.American students in coming years will not be assessed by how many hours they spend in the classroom, but by how well they have mastered each skill and concept. Learning will take place as quickly or slowly as a student can progress, and being behind in one subject will not jeopardize advancement in another. Graduation will be competency-based, not merely a marker of occupying a classroom seat for 13 years.What children learn during their years as students would seem to matter. Legislation and policy would be guided by these outcomes. Yet when they seek to grade how well public schools are performing, they use six factors: “academic standards, charter schools, homeschool regulation burden, private school choice, teacher quality, and digital learning”—none of which measure what students have accomplished.This approach places states whose schools perform well on measures of actual student achievement at the bottom of ALEC’s ratings. According to Washington Post education writer Valerie Strauss, “The state that comes in last is…Nebraska, where more than 45 percent of adults have some kind of college degree….[Next] is Wyoming, which has a high school graduation rate of nearly 90 percent.” The fact that those strategies have yet to demonstrate positive results does not seem to matter.On the other hand, at the top of the ALEC rankings stands Arizona, which has a low rate of high school graduation and whose students have not performed well on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Arizona’s public schools struggle to fill their classrooms with qualified teachers. According to the Arizona Republic, 22 percent of the state’s teachers did not have a college degree and could not qualify for state certification. From ALEC’s perspective, Florida—again, a state where more traditional measures of school performance show modest results at best—ranks as the nation’s second-best school system. Washington, D.C., whose schools continue to struggle, is ranked as having the sixth-best system in the nation. What these systems share are policies that support choice, privatization, and market-based education.This counterintuitive approach is more easily understood when considering who pays ALEC’s bills. Stalwarts of conservative politics that have given strong support to the privatization of public education are also significant funders of ALEC. In that list are the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the family foundations related to Adolph Coors, the Koch brothers, and the Scaife family.Making public policy should be a fact-based, not a funder-driven exercise. Providing information to legislators and voters should emphasize real outcomes of policy implementation. There is a real danger when organizations like ALEC and other interest groups confuse their political philosophy with outcomes. In a Twitter world, being Number One may be more important than the reasons for that ranking. Yet for policymakers, knowing what’s behind those reasons is of critical importance.—Marty LevineShare17Tweet21Share8Email46 Shares
British digital terrestrial television service Freeview has over three million high definition users, latest figures have revealed.Freeview, the organisation that operates the country’s free-to-air digital television service, has seen 3.1 million television sets and set-top boxes sold since it launched its high definition service in March 2010.The HD service operates four HD channels – BBC One HD, BBC HD, ITV1 HD and Channel 4 HD with a fifth channel due to launch in April 2012. The numbers, which cover the period until the end of September, also show that there are 18 million homes receiving Freeview with 10.2 million of these on their main television set.Ilse Howling, managing director, Freeview, said: “Breaking through the three million sales barrier is huge achievement for Freeview HD. We’re seeing a shift in what viewers want from their TV provider. The ability to access high definition has become something people expect as normal when buying a new television. Also, most Freeview HDTVs and some Freeview+ HD recorders now offer smart features giving viewers access to more entertainment such as BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Facebook.”
Moldovan state broadcaster Teleradio-Moldova has decided to shut down its international channel Moldova International in a move that could save the cash-strapped organisation about MDL2.5 million (€160,000) a year, according to press reports.The channel, which began broadcasting in 2007 and was aimed at the Moldovan diaspora audience, will cease transmissions at the beginning of next year.Between 600,000 and one million Moldovans – about a quarter of the country’s population – are believed to be living and working abroad, the majority illegally, with Russia and Italy among the more popular destinations for migrants.
Set-top provider Amino Communications has named Joe Coles as senior vice-president of product management and marketing.Coles, who will have responsibility for developing and driving the company’s Aminet and Live range of IPTV/OTT set-top boxes, previously ran his own consultancy specialising in strategic portfolio management and co-founded a start-up based on a mobile app/online product to create a free Wi-Fi community for smartphone and tablet users. He has also held product management roles at Nokia and Plantronics.“Joe brings an enormous amount of experience having shaped the strategic direction of product management and marketing for a number of global companies. We’re sure he’ll make a significant contribution to the development of our products to better serve our expanding customer base,” said Amino CEO Donald McGarva.
Moves towards digital migration has accelerate wider changes in regulation of media in Russia and other CIS countries, but progress towards digital switchover remains extremely slow, according to a new report from the European Audiovisual Observatory.In Russia, progress has been delayed by political infighting. While amendments to the country’s broadcasting law were adopted in 2011 by the Russian parliament, the basic statue on which they were based dated from 1991, but was never adopted because of political disagreement.The new amendments, affecting the licensing of TV channels, became statutory at the end of 2011, confirming the role of regulator the Roskomnadzor as the licensing authority. However, while the rules conﬁrm that licensing may be based on a tender, competition or auction, they still fail to provide details as to how the procedural choice will be determined.The report found that current policies seem to have the effect of consolidating the power of the executive to control broadcasting spectrum, with the rules implemented in 2011 having the effect of widening the power of the government and president to rule on broadcasting. “This power has economic (budgetary spending and digital dividend distribution) and political (more political control with competition left for entertainment programming only) consequences. As Russia remains a trendsetter for most of the other CIS countries, this seems to be having repercussions for its neighbours,” the report concluded.Rules to determine the make up of the country’s second and third multipexes were set out and having been postponed several times, licensing of broadcasters on the second DTT multiplex is now scheduled to take place on 14 December 2012.Within three months from the bidding process being completed, all winners are to sign a 10-year contract with broadcasting organisation RTRN for its service, which consists of providing, in stages, access to viewers in Russia. Each winner will form packages of TV programmes for broadcasting in different time zones – that is, every set of programmes will be prepared for four time-shifted intervals. They will supply to RTRN the signals in accordance with the technical speciﬁcations set by RTRN, as well as provide it with the electronic programming guides. No process has been initiated for the third multiplex.Addressing the other CIS countries, the report found that the advent of digital television has accelerated the elaboration of regulation and related processes in most of the countries of the region.Some countries adopted changes in their broadcasting statutes, including Ukraine in 2006, Armenia in 2008 and 2010, and Kazakhstan in 2012, or their mass media statute, such as Russia in 2011. One country – Uzbekistan– laid the foundations for the switchover in a presidential decree, while the rest have opted for governmental ordinances and executive orders, the report found. Some changes made in the process go beyond merely adjusting the legal framework to digital technology, it said.