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As Newsstand Atrophy Worsens Reform Remains Possible

first_imgCan the Newsstand Channel Survive?Publishers (and wholesalers) must now address the question they’ve been successfully avoiding for years: Can the newsstand channel survive a decade long revenue decline of this severity?The answer is a qualified yes.Most knowledgable observers believe that archaic newsstand channel practices have contributed to, if not exacerbated, the decline. This is undoubtedly true. But over the years, fixing the system has proved to be elusive — primarily because this seemingly simple business is actually, at its core, quite complex. It’s a business not like any other.The problem is not getting the products distributed and displayed, but rather accounting for all those damn returns. Return processing and accounting concerns have created a toxic lack of trust among channel participants. This lack of trust is the key factor in preventing the channel parties from working toward equitable reform.Major Publishers Hold the Key for SurvivalThe channel can only survive if the channel parties set aside their individual grievances and work in concert toward affecting channel reform. However, one of the channel groups has to step forward to assume reform leadership. In this case the responsibility realistically falls to publishers, the group that, arguably, has the most to lose if the channel fails.It’s vital to understand that only a small set of publishing companies will determine the fate of the newsstand. Until recently, eight publishing companies dominated the industry. However, recent events have eliminated Rodale and Wenner from the newsstand leadership ranks. The fate of the newsstand now largely rests with six publishing companies: American Media, Bauer, Time Inc., Hearst, Condé Nast, and Meredith. Among audited publications, these companies control nearly 90 percent of unit sales and over 84 percent of revenue. Changes at the Top of the Publisher Newsstand HierarchyTime Inc., the de facto newsstand leader for many years, now appears to be in a hasty retreat. Although the company is apparently no longer for sale, they are pursuing a vigorous cost-cutting strategy. This includes selling off a number of their less significant titles, reducing frequency on some of their weekly publications, and selling or outsourcing their massive fulfillment operation. It’s possible this could also signal their withdrawal as a national distributor.Time Inc. has a checkered history of newsstand leadership. To their credit they tried to introduce channel reform, but it wasn’t accepted by the industry. Over time, they have become better known for feathering their own nest, rather than forging needed channel reform. They’ve had their shot. Now they’ll have to make way for an unlikely set of new newsstand leaders: American Media and Bauer.American Media vaulted to the top of the audited publication newsstand revenue heap (see chart above) with their acquisitions of Us Weekly and Men’s Journal from Wenner Media. Bauer’s place at the top of the newsstand hierarchy is based on the sheer volume of their unit sales, which now represent a massive 32 percent of all audited publications units sold. Every third audited publication sold at the newsstand is a Bauer title.However, American Media and Bauer are untested industry leaders. In fact they have, for years, been the industry mavericks. But if necessity is the mother of invention, the industry may have inadvertently discovered the right set of leaders. More than any of the other major publishers, they are fully committed to the newsstand by virtue of their large portions of newsstand circ. If the newsstand grows more dysfunctional, and it’s heading in that direction, the other four major publishers — including Time Inc. — should be able to survive.But an increasingly dysfunctional newsstand channel could spell doom for American Media and Bauer. These two publishers have made a huge bet on the newsstand. If they’re smart, and we know they are, they will do what’s necessary for their self preservation – which means helping lead much needed newsstand reform efforts.Hope for a Positive Newsstand ElegyJ.D. Vance expressed hope that the “learned helplessness” of his people could be replaced by harnessing community power. When the newsstand elegy poem is written, it’s hoped that the two former industry mavericks will be saluted for helping the newsstand community get its groove back. For purposes of this analysis, this distinction makes a difference because of the record number of titles (35) that posted sales in the first half of 2016, but resigned during the year. Among the titles that resigned were: Maxim, Prevention, Self, and Vegetarian Times. If the sales data from these titles (representing unit sales of about 3 million in the previous period) had been excluded from the analysis, the unit sales decline would have been 2 points lower — or about 16.2 percent. Said another way, the unit sales decline of continuing publications in the first half of this year was about 16.2 percent.Any way you look at it, the sales decline of audited consumer magazines in the first half of this year was devastating. There were hardly any bright spots. Every multi-titled publisher, except National Geographic, took a serious sales licking.2017 Marks the End of a Decade of Newsstand FutilityThe weak first half sales marked a fitting close to a decade of chilling newsstand futility. In 2007 (10 years ago), the year before the economic crash of 2008, newsstand sales revenue of audited publications reached their peak (over $3.2 billion) and unit sales, although continuously declining since the 1980’s, stood at a robust 932 million.In 2007, life was pretty darn good at the newsstand. But the ensuing decade has brought nothing but grief and disappointment to the embattled newsstand channel. During this 10-year period, unit sales of audited titles have fallen on average 13 percent per year. For the decade, unit sales are down 77.1 percent and revenue is off 70.5 percent.Think about it this way: Unit sales and revenue of audited titles in 2017 are 4.3 and 3.5 times, respectively, less than they were 10 years ago. In effect, the newsstand channel is only a quarter of its 2007 self.center_img J.D. Vance, in his compelling bestseller, “Hillbilly Elegy,” traces with sorrow the “learned helplessness” of hillbilly life. In this case, I thought his book and the use of the word elegy seemed appropriate for helping describe what has transpired at the newsstand in the last decade.First Half Sales Decline at Record RateThe newsstand sales of audited publications in the first half, as reported by the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), revealed a record annual unit sales decline of 18.2 percent to 106.4 million and a revenue fall of 14.2 percent to $478.5 million.An 18.2 percent unit sales decline is, of course, gigantic — the largest ever experienced by audited consumer magazines. It does, however, require a note of explanation. The analysis in this piece is based on comparing current period sales with sales data from the year previous period. This differs from the AAM comparison, which compares data from the previous year period for only titles reporting in the current period, but not for publications that resigned from the audit bureau during the period.last_img read more

Hyderabad Metro frequency increased on AmeerpetHitec City line

first_imgHyderabad: After the launch of reversal facility at Hitec City by the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL), the frequency of the train has been enhanced to every four minutes on Ameerpet-Hitec City line during peak hours. The HMRL commissioned the reversal facility at Hitec City on Tuesday. Earlier, the trains were run on the same side due to the lack of reversal facility. However, now, they can move forward till Trident hotel where the facility is being constructed to reverse and switch to the adjacent platform. “The trains will be run with a frequency of four minutes for two or three weeks and later it will be further increased to three minutes if required after the operations stabilised,” said NVS Reddy, director of NVS Reddy.last_img read more

New catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells resists CO contamination

first_img Citation: New catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells resists CO contamination (2010, July 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from More information: Highly Stable and CO-Tolerant Pt/Ti0.7W0.3O2 Electrocatalyst for Proton-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells, J. Am. Chem. Soc., Article ASAP, Publication Date (Web): July 12, 2010. Image credit: Journal of the American Chemical Society Explore further Nano World: Methanol fuel cell thru nano Hydrogen fuel cells use platinum electrocatalysts to combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce water and generate electricity. The problem is that the hydrogen is produced from sources such as gasoline, natural gas, or ethanol, and the process often introduces carbon monoxide into the gas. Even miniscule amounts of carbon monoxide in the hydrogen are sufficient to bind to the platinum catalysts and prevent them working. Scientists at Brookhaven National Lab in New York have recently found a platinum/ruthenium catalyst that blocks CO poisoning, but since this catalyst is extremely expensive, researchers have been seeing an alternative.The new catalyst was developed by Professor Héctor Abruña and colleagues from Cornell University, the National Institute for Materials Science in Ibaraki, Japan, and the University of Pennsylvania. They began with the knowledge that tungsten alloys resist CO poisoning. Tungsten is not used in fuel cell electrodes because it is a poor electrical conductor, so Abruña and the team added tungsten to nanoparticles of titanium dioxide, which is a good electrical conductor. The result was titanium tungsten oxide nanoparticles, which they coated with platinum to make an electrode.The researchers tested their nanoparticles catalysts with hydrogen contaminated with two percent carbon monoxide, and found performance was reduced by only five percent compared to 30 percent for ordinary catalysts.Abruña said he is not sure how the new catalyst works, and much more testing is required, but he thinks a likely mechanism is that hydroxide (OH-) groups bind during the reaction to the titanium tungsten oxide near to the platinum, where they are close enough to the CO molecules to react and form CO2.If the tests prove successful and the new catalyst can be made economically, it could spark renewed interest in using liquid fuels such as gasoline in cars to make the hydrogen required to power fuel cells. This in turn could enable fuel cells cars to have a longer range than those using gaseous hydrogen and those using gasoline conventionally.The research paper was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. 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. © 2010 ( — Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles promise faster refueling and the ability to travel longer distances before refueling than battery-powered cars, but they are susceptible to poisoning by carbon monoxide (CO). Now, scientists in the US and Japan have created new nanoparticles catalysts that enable hydrogen fuel cells to resist CO poisoning.last_img read more

Animal cells communicate electrically over long distances via nanotubes

first_img( — A new study has discovered that animal cells communicate electrically with each other via tunneling nanotubes (TNTs). The membrane tubes contain a protein called F-actin and connect cells over long distances to enable the exchange of molecules and organelles between the cells. Nanotube Coating Meshes with Living Cells 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. The formation of TNT between NRK cells. Image credit: PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1006785107. More information: Xiang Wang, et al. Animal cells connected by nanotubes can be electrically coupled through interposed gap-junction channels, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Published online before print September 20, 2010, doi:10.1073/pnas.1006785107 Researchers based at the Department of Biomedicine of the University of Bergen in Norway demonstrated a two-way exchange of electrical signals between cells connected by nanotubes 10 to 70 μm long in a normal rat kidney. They also demonstrated electrical coupling in other types of cells, which suggests electrical coupling via TNTs may be a much more common phenomenon in animal cells than previously thought.The study found the strength of electrical coupling depended on the length and number of TNT connections, and the coupling was voltage-sensitive. Electrical coupling was inhibited by the presence of a known gap-junction blocker, meclofenamic acid, and was not present in cell types that lacked gap junctions. Gap junctions are proteins that form a porous junction between adjacent cells, and the study clearly demonstrated that a current flows down the nanotube and causes ion channels to open in the connecting cell’s membrane, as long as a gap junction is present. The ions entering the cell can have a variety of effects, such as modulating cell movements, and this may help to explain phenomena like the coordinated cell migrations seen in developing embryos as cells congregate to form structures such as the neural tube.Co-author of the paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Hans-Hermann Gerdes, said the discovery was akin to ultra-thin telephone cables between cells, allowing them to talk to one another.Gerdes and his colleagues first discovered protein nanotubes (also called membrane nanotubes) in the kidney six years ago using light microscopy. Apart from forming a means of electrical coupling, the nanotubes have also been shown to be able to transport molecules, viruses and prions from cell to cell, at least in a Petri dish. It is not yet known how cells produce nanotubes or how they open the membrane of another cell several cell-widths away. Some scientists doubted the initial discovery of nanotubes, since there seemed to be no strong evidence that nanotubes are needed physiologically. One critic was Yale microbiologist Walther Mothes, who said he was impressed by the new finding that nanotubes use gap junctions for electrical communication, which he said makes a lot of sense, and should lead to further study of TNTs. © 2010 Citation: Animal cells communicate electrically over long distances via nanotubes (2010, September 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore furtherlast_img read more

A story emerging from dance forms

first_imgArtist creates his own imagery based on his visual experiences through various mediums. Observation and thought process play a key factor for any kind of visual creation. Creation surely does not follow any specific rule and it is beyond any limits. An artist expresses his account in his own chosen form that is unique and a subject to appreciate. This is exactly what Akshay Puri – an artist from Delhi – has done in his ongoing exhibition, ‘World of Rhythm’, at the Lalit Kala Akademi. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThis one-man exhibition of creative photographs which is on display at Rabindra Bhawan until March 8 for the art lovers to admire, is about his love for dance form and nature. Here he narrates his photographic story emerging through forms related to dance placed in an environment of dynamics of nature. It is a delight for viewers as his experiment with rhythm creates a balance and both forms supplement each other to express his understanding of his photographic aspiration. The artist was born in 1982 in a family where art was in daily practice. Akshay was trained in photography under well-known photographer Shree O.P. Sharma, at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi. He has dedicated his creative spirit in learning and exploring possibilities in photography more than twenty years and held many solo and group exhibitions showcasing his experimental photographic presentations in monochrome as well as in colour.last_img read more

Avoid passive smoking to cut BP

first_imgLiving with a smoker after age 20 is associated with a 15 per cent greater risk of developing high blood pressure, warn researchers, adding that avoiding smoky environments can reduce the risk of hypertension. Passive smoking at home or work was linked with a 13 per cent increased risk of hypertension. Exposure to passive smoking for 10 years or more was related to a 17 per cent increased risk of hypertension and men and women were equally affected, said the researchers at “EuroHeartCare 2019″, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology, in Milan, Italy on Friday. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke regardless of whether the smoker is still in the room,” said study author Professor Byung Jin Kim from Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea. “Our study in non-smokers shows that the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) is higher with longer duration of passive smoking – but even the lowest amounts are dangerous,” Kim added. This is the first large study to assess the association between secondhand smoke and hypertension in never-smokers verified by urinary levels of cotinine, the principal metabolite of nicotine. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveIt included 131,739 never-smokers, one-third men, and an average age of 35 years. Participants with hypertension were significantly more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work (27.9 per cent) than those with normal blood pressure (22.6 per cent). Hypertension was significantly more common in people exposed to passive smoke at home or work (7.2 per cent) compared to no exposure (5.5 per cent). “The results suggest that it is necessary to keep completely away from secondhand smoke, not just reduce exposure, to protect against hypertension,” said Professor Kim.last_img read more


First Auckland flight out of Chile lands

first_imgA LAN flight from Santiago to Auckland arrived this morning, the first flight on the route since last week’s 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, the carrier said today.Flight LA 801 was previously scheduled to arrive at 4.20am, but arrived shortly after 6.00am local time today.LAN said the return flight LA 800 to Santiago would depart Auckland at 4.40pm. The carrier also plans to operate its next Santiago – Auckland flight tonight, arriving into Auckland early on Saturday and continuing on to Sydney.But passengers ticketed to fly on flights LA 800 (Sydney – Auckland – Santiago) or LA 801 (Santiago – Auckland – Sydney) are still advised to call the airline in New Zealand on 09 308 3352 or in Australia on 1800 558 129.LAN said it was “focused on transporting those passengers stranded since the weekend when their flights were cancelled or rescheduled following the earthquake” All stranded passengers ticketed to travel on LAN will be rebooked onto the first available flight, LAN said.However, operations into the international airport terminal in Santiago continue to be restricted due to damage, but some flights are being diverted to Punta Arenas airport in the south of Santiago. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Samsonite Australia will launch its new Evoa TECH

first_img Samsonite Australia will launch its new Evoa TECH collection to the local market next month. The Evoa TECH range features fingerprint-activated TSA locking technology, built in weight scale, Bluetooth tracking and a USB port. The new collection aims to bring a complete upgrade of experience to solve common problems in everyday travel, improve efficiency and enhance security.The fingerprint-activated TSA combination function can open and lock the luggage with one simple fingerprint touch, a godsend for frequent travellers. With the help of a user-friendly system, consumers can record up to (and later switch out) 10 selected fingerprints within the device, allowing the suitcases to be borrowed or accessed by friends and family with ease.There’s also an option of using a set-dial code, along with a USB port to charge mobile phones and tablets with the power bank kept inside the smart pocket of the interior divider.With the integrated weighing scale, travellers can avoid costly airline baggage fees with a simple lift of the side carry handle. The user-friendly design features a convenient one-touch display screen built into the handle that shows the weight by lifting up and down.Thanks to the Bluetooth tracker, owners will be able to ensure luggage is never left stranded at the airport as its proximity guidance feature can be set up to alert the user when their luggage is a set distance away.Evoa TECH also features double layer anti-theft zips and metal corner guards for increased protection.The new luggage line also features innovation Aero-Trac™ suspension wheel technology which effectively reduces rolling vibration and noise against frictional paths.Evoa TECH comes in a stylish Brushed Black texture to reduce the appearance of marks and scratches. It’s loaded with additional convenient features including expandability and multiple internal organisers including a smart pocket and wet pocket. Available this September from leading luggage retailers, as well as online at, the new Evoa TECH will be available in three sizes and prices: 55cm/$679.00, 69cm/$799.00 and 75cm/$899.00. Want to be in the luxury travel know? Subscribe to our free eNewsletter here to keep up to date with everything in the luxury travel industry. Go back to the e-newsletter Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more

Lawmakers unveil plans to combat human trafficking

first_imgA bipartisan group of state lawmakers gathered last week in the state Capitol to unveil a package of bills designed to help eliminate human trafficking in Michigan.“The bills included in this package help to protect victims of human trafficking,” said State Rep. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage. “As a former social worker, I am very passionate about taking steps to end this heinous practice.”This announcement comes after six months of work by the human trafficking commission and the corresponding bills are based upon 11 legislative goals from the commission’s final report. Kalamazoo County has been at the forefront of fighting human trafficking and has created a local group dedicated to the cause called the Kalamazoo Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition.“These issues need to be taken seriously so that we are effectively advocating for the victims who become involved in human trafficking,” O’Brien said. “These individuals need to be seen as victims not as criminals.”The bill package will revise the kidnapping statues to cover trafficking. Changes also will be made to protect victims instead of labeling them as “prostitutes,” modernize legal definitions to account for changes in criminal tactics, and create a permanent human trafficking commission within the Attorney General’s office to ensure future attention on this issue. Categories: News 27Jan Lawmakers unveil plans to combat human traffickinglast_img read more

Zorn local fire chief take part in House ceremony honoring first responders

first_img Categories: News 11Sep Zorn, local fire chief take part in House ceremony honoring first responders, military Rep. Dale Zorn (left) stands with Chief Dan Motylinski of the Dundee Fire Department in the state Capitol rotunda today. Zorn invited Motylinski to a special House session honoring first responders who lost their lives in the line of duty during the last year. The annual ceremony also commemorated the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.###last_img

House approves bill allowing retired teachers to fill critical instruction shortages

first_img Categories: Bizon News 05Mar House approves bill allowing retired teachers to fill critical instruction shortages The Michigan House today approved a measure co-sponsored by state Rep. John Bizon that would eliminate the sunset on a 2012 law and allow retired teachers and school employees to re-enter the work force to fill critical vacancies in Michigan schools.“Making sure qualified individuals are allowed to fill these specialized and critical vacancies will provide our children with the best education we can,” said Rep. Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “This is a very important tool for local school districts as they continue to help Michigan kids on the path to a brighter future.”House Bill 4059 eliminates a July 1, 2014 sunset of Public Act 464 of 2012, which gives the state superintendent the ability to determine critical teacher shortages in Michigan school districts and allows the districts to fill those vacancies with qualified personnel. Many of the shortages are in areas requiring specialized training, such as speech pathologists and special education staff.“Local school districts know if they need help in one of these specialized fields,” Rep. Bizon said. “We shouldn’t prevent them from being able to use the services of a qualified individual in these cases.”The legislation, which received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, retains existing safeguards for the current law to prevent educators from earning full pay while receiving their retirement pension.HB 4059 now goes to the Senate for consideration###last_img read more

Rep Lucido hosting town hall to discuss Proposal 1

first_img Categories: Lucido News State Rep. Peter J. Lucido is inviting residents of the 36th District, which includes the townships of Shelby, Washington, Bruce and the Village of Romeo, to an informational town hall about the May 5 statewide ballot proposal on road funding in Michigan.Joining Rep. Lucido at the town hall will be representatives from Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT); Architects, Engineers and Surveyors Association; and Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA).The town hall will take place Monday, April 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Washington Township Municipal Building, located at 57900 Van Dyke Road.“The vote on this proposal is coming up quickly, and I’d like to give local residents a chance to have their questions and concerns addressed by the experts,” said Rep. Lucido, a Republican from Shelby Township. “This event gives local voters the opportunity to learn more about the proposal so they have the facts needed to make an informed decision at the polls.”Residents who cannot attend the town hall meetings are encouraged to contact Rep. Lucido toll free at (888) MICH-REP or 22Apr Rep. Lucido hosting town hall to discuss Proposal 1last_img read more

House panel approves bipartisan legislation to assist military families

first_img Rep. Maturen: Remove barriers for attorneys whose spouses serve our countryBipartisan legislation approved today by the House Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs will ease some professional requirements for the husbands and wives of active-duty military members stationed in Michigan.House Bills 5288 and 5289, sponsored by Rep. Dave Maturen and Rep. Robert Wittenberg, allow spouses of military members stationed in Michigan to be admitted to the Michigan Bar, given they meet Michigan’s requirements and are licensed as an attorney in another state.“Military families are frequently asked to pick up their lives and move. Unfortunately, that often means the careers of military spouses take a back seat while their husband or wife serves our country,” said Rep. Maturen, R-Vicksburg. “I know from personal experience how difficult this can be; when I was in the Army my wife had a teaching degree she wasn’t able to fully utilize because of my active duty service.“Currently, practicing attorneys who relocate to Michigan because of their spouse’s military service have to pass the Michigan Bar Exam before they are allowed to work in our state. Because the exam is only held twice a year, they might have to wait months before they can take it and get their results. Our legislation spares military families the time and expense associated with the exam, and makes it easier for hard-working people to get back to work.“Military spouses make many sacrifices for our country – their own careers shouldn’t be one of them.”### 15Sep House panel approves bipartisan legislation to assist military families Categories: Maturen Newslast_img read more

Senate approves Howrylaks state unemployment system reform legislation

first_img Categories: Howrylak News,News 13Dec Senate approves Howrylak’s state unemployment system reform legislation The Michigan Senate today voted unanimously to approve legislation authored by state Rep. Martin Howrylak to improve Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).Rep. Howrylak’s proposal is part of a bipartisan bill package. The reforms were developed by a workgroup comprised of business leaders, claimant advocates and bipartisan legislators. The package was introduced to improve accountability and address the inefficiencies present in the current unemployment system.“It speaks volumes that this legislation passed unanimously in both the House and Senate,” said Howrylak, of Troy. “These landmark reforms will significantly enhance the quality of service provided by the UIA and I look forward to this package being signed into law by the Governor.”Rep. Howrylak’s bill (HB 5172) gives the agency the ability to reopen a fraud case with good cause within three years of it being filed. This will enhance the agency’s ability to contest the growing problem of unemployment fraud, which creates problems for citizens and employers. Cases not associated with unemployment fraud will be eligible to be reopened for one year after the initial claim is filed. Last but not least, the legislation makes commonsense changes to the way the UIA communicates with Michigan citizens. Rep. Howrylak’s bill requires the UIA to work with Treasury, the Secretary of State and U.S. Postal Service to determine the last known address for claimants.“The UIA communicates confidential and time sensitive information with current and former claimants,” said Rep. Howrylak. “My bill requires the UIA to work with other state and federal entities to identify the most up-to-date address for an individual. I am confident that this new process will enhance the UIA’s ability to communicate with claimants, regardless if they have moved or relocated.”The legislation in the bill package will also:Provide citizens accused of fraud access to an advocacy program;Improve the process for determining the validity of an unemployment claim;Prevent claimants from incurring interest in the case of an overpayment due to an agency error; andClarify the eligibility for hardship waivers and the agency’s process for ruling on applications for the waiver.House Bill 5172, along with the rest of the bill package, now moves to the governor for approval.last_img read more

House Oversight Committee clears Hauck bills ridding unnecessary laws

first_img The House Oversight Committee today approved plans sponsored by state Rep. Roger Hauck of Union Township repealing unnecessary laws from the books. House Bills 5775 and 5894 would both remove outdated sections of law in diverse areas.House Bill 5775 removes a law from 1931 criminalizing the selling of an animal that is unfit to work as a misdemeanor. Today, violators of this would be punished for other existing crimes, making the outdated law duplicative and obsolete.In the 1950s and ’60s, conservation and rehabilitation camps were operated across the state and designed to put youth offenders through military-like experiences and conduct conservation projects as means of corrections. House Bill 5894 would remove references to Camp LaVictoire – a conservation and rehabilitation camp that is now nonexistent.“A big part of our job as legislators is to bring meaningful ideas to Lansing to help the people of Michigan, but we also must address laws that no longer are relevant to today’s landscape,” Hauck said. “Eliminating a reference in statue here or there seems trivial, but it allows for a clean government without bloat.”House Bills 5775 and 5894 both move to the full House for consideration. 10May House Oversight Committee clears Hauck bills ridding unnecessary laws Categories: Hauck Newslast_img read more

Rep LaSata to host consumer education seminar

first_img State Rep. Kim LaSata is reminding Berrien County residents about her scheduled consumer education seminar tomorrow, Aug. 3.  The seminar will be hosted in partnership with the Michigan Attorney General’s office to educate residents on identity theft.The forum will feature information on protection against identity theft and what steps to take in the event you become a victim of this crime.The event starts at 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3 at the North Berrien Senior Center, 6648 Ryno Road in Coloma.  There is no charge to attend. For more information, contact Rep. LaSata’s office at 517-373-1403 or by email at 02Aug Rep. LaSata to host consumer education seminar Categories: LaSata News,LaSata Photoslast_img read more

ACLU Sues to End Debtors Prison Practices against Poor in Georgia

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares January 29, 2015; Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, GA)On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit against DeKalb County, Georgia, and a debt collection business called Judicial Correction Services, Inc. (JCS) on behalf of Kevin Thompson. Thompson was jailed for 5 days for failure to pay court fines and probation company fees stemming from a traffic ticket. The ACLU charges that the court and JCS have engaged in a coercive debt collection scheme that sacrifices the rights of poor people for local revenue generation. As readers will remember, the issue of onerous fees imposed by the courts against the poor surfaced as an element of the Ferguson protests.The Brennan Center for Justice has published a full report on these types of debt collection practices entitled “Criminal Justice Debt: A Barrier to Reentry.” Missouri is one of the states covered in this report. Here are some of the findings:Inability to pay leads to more fees and an endless cycle of debt. Fourteen of the fifteen states also utilize “poverty penalties”—piling on additional late fees, payment plan fees, and interest when individuals are unable to pay their debts all at once, often enriching private debt collectors in the process. Some of the collection fees are exorbitant and exceed ordinary standards of fairness. For example, Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, while Florida permits private debt collectors to tack on a 40 percent surcharge to underlying debt.Although “debtors’ prison” is illegal in all states, re-incarcerating individuals for failure to pay debt is, in fact, common in some—and in all states, new paths back to prison are emerging for those who owe criminal justice debt. All fifteen of the states examined in this report have jurisdic­tions that arrest people for failing to pay debt or appear at debt-related hearings. Many states also use the threats of revocation of probation or parole or incarceration for contempt as a debt-collection tool. In some jurisdictions, individuals may “choose” to go to jail as a way to reduce their debt burdens. Some of these practices violate the Constitution or state law. All of them undercut former offenders’ efforts to reintegrate into their communities. Yet even though over-incarceration harms individuals and communities and pushes state budgets to the brink, states continue to send people back to prison or jail for debt-related reasons.As states increasingly structure their budgets around fee revenue, they look only at one side of the ledger. Strikingly, there is scant information about what aggressive collection efforts cost the state. Debt collection involves myriad non-tabulated expenses, including salaried time from court staff, correctional authorities, and state and local government employees. Arresting and incarcerat­ing people for debt-related reasons is particularly costly, especially for sheriffs’ offices, local jails, and for the courts themselves. For example, Brennan Center analysis of one North Carolina coun­ty’s collection efforts found that in 2009, the government arrested 564 individuals and jailed 246 of them for failing to pay debt and update their address information, but the amount it ultimately collected from this group was less than what it spent on their incarceration.Thompson’s debt to the county and JCS was $838. He was given no indigency hearing and offered no counsel, as is required since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled more than 30 years ago that locking people up merely because they cannot afford to pay court fines is contrary to American values of fairness and equality embedded in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “Thompson suffered humiliation, anxiety, stress, emotional distress, and other irreparable injury from being handcuffed and taken to jail in front of his mother, forcibly separated from his mother and family, and detained for five days in unsanitary and cold jail conditions without enough food to eat,” the lawsuit says.“Being poor is not a crime. Yet across the county, the freedom of too many people unfairly rests on their ability to pay traffic fines and fees they cannot afford,” said Nusrat Choudhury, an attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. “We seek to dismantle this two-tiered system of justice that punishes the poorest among us, disproportionately people of color, more harshly than those with means.”According to this statement, “blacks make up 54 percent of the DeKalb County population, nearly all probationers jailed by the DeKalb County Recorders Court for failure to pay are black—a pattern replicated by other Georgia courts.”“In a country where the racial wealth gap remains stark, the link between driving while black and jailed for being poor has a devastating impact on communities of color,” said Choudhury.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

The EBU is offering its members a platform to depl

first_imgThe EBU is offering its members a platform to deploy HbbTV services during this year’s Olympic Games and Eurovision Song Contest.Three white label applications will be provided free-of-charge to EBU members, who can customise them with their own content to provide interactive services including catch-up, VOD, interactive advertising, voting, gaming and social networking.EBU director general Ingrid Deltenre said, “More than 20 EBU members have agreed to collaborate to unlock the full potential of hybrid TV for a European rollout of the technology in 2012. Underlying this co-operation is the shared conviction that only high-quality creative content can breathe life into the promise of hybrid technology, and only a flexible, cross-border approach will make it happen quickly.”The EBU is today hosting a Creative Content Workshop to enable EBU members to share experiences and ideas for hybrid applications. The EBU said that the event would see members agreeing on common approaches to issues relating to the deployment of successful hybrid TV services, such as colour-coded buttons and a common market for hybrid television applications.last_img read more


Sky Deutschland and Deutsche Telekoms agreement t

first_imgSky Deutschland and Deutsche Telekom’s agreement that will see the complete Sky offering made available to Deutsche Telekom’s Entertain TV customers is due to go live in July, Sky Deutschland said. The agreement, which was agreed in January, will cover more than 70 HD channels and allow Deutsche Telekom Entertain IPTV customers to choose from the Sky Starter Pack, Sky World, Sky movie, Sky Sports, Sky Fußball Bundesliga and the Sky Premium HD service.last_img

Telecom operators are ideally placed to deliver OT

first_imgTelecom operators are ideally placed to deliver OTT services, with an opportunity to use these in an entirely complementary way to IPTV services, according to Joaquin Lopez, product definition and strategy director, media service, Telefonica Digital.Addressing the OTTtv World Summit in London, Lopez cited the example of Telefonica’s own Play offerings as a way in which telcos can use OTT not only to enhance their existing pay TV offerings but to extend their reach to untapped markets outside the area over which they can offer IPTV pay TV services.Telefonica has launched Play – an OTT service offering incorporating SVoD and TVoD – as a pure OTT service to complement its IPTV offerings. Play is intended as an alternative OTT platform with a separate subscription that sits alongside the TV Everywhere offerings associated with Telefonica’s existing IPTV services.On the OTT and TV Everywhere front combined, the company has to date launched Brazilian service Vivo Play, a separate offering from pay TV service Vivo TV Fibra, Argentinian service On Video and, in Spain, Movistar TV Go, a complement to the existing IPTV service, which launched in August.Lopez said pay TV can leverage OTT in three ways. It can provide curation and enable users to discover content. It can deliver what Telefonica describes as “flexilinear” services, adding flexibility to linear TV via DVR, typically the first value-added service for pay TV, cloud DVR and other forms of catch-up TV. And third, it can provide multiscreen access to its content, said Lopez.Another advantage for Telefonica is that it can use its own CDN infrastructure to deliver OTT services, said Lopez.Telecom operators are ideally positioned to deliver OTT services as a way to enhance pay TV, as well as being ideally positioned to deliver bundled services, said Lopez. However, with Play, Telefonica has determined that it is important not to restrict access to the telco’s own network, said Lopez. “It is important to go countrywide, knowing there is relatively little risk of cannibalisation of the main pay TV service,” he said.Lopez said Telefonica plans to offer Play as a separate service with its own set of apps, meaning that is separate from the multiscreen services offered as part of the telco’s pay TV offerings. “If you are a subscriber to a pay TV service and you bundle with Play, you will be able to access Play services,” he said. “It is critical though to separate the brand if you are going to target customers outside your own areas.”Reiterating that Telefonica sees OTT and pay TV as essentially complementary, Lopez said that  while the  pay TV market is mature in countries including the US, it is under threat more from cord shaving than cord cutting. While Netflix is growing rapidly, there is relatively little direct substitution between it and pay TV offerings, he said. “To some extent these services are complementary,” said Lopez. “Netflix is mostly coexisting peacefully with pay TV. The real threat is ‘zero TV’ homes – now around five million homes in the US.”Lopez said that Netflix and Lovefilm typically play at the low-value end of pay TV windows for movies and series, meaning a huge catalogue is key to their success. This is leading them to attempt to produce more valuable exclusive pay TV content.However, said Lopez, pay TV also brings additional content including news and sport to users.Telefonica currently has 3.3 million TV subscribers but is present in the very high-growth markets of Latin America, said Lopez. Telefonica has developed, in partnership with Ericsson, the Global Video Platform to deliver both pay TV and OTT services.last_img read more