cruiseU by UniworldUniworld Uniworld and U’s ‘Our Best Offer’ sale has been extended through 31 March 2019 with added dates and even better fares. Travellers can save up to 30% on over 360 departure dates across more than 40 different itineraries including:Magnificent Moselle & Rhine (10-days from $4,829): New in 2019, this itinerary sails from Cologne to Frankfurt offering a unique perspective on this German wine-making region.Highlights of the China & the Yangtze (11-days from $5,279): This itinerary sails aboard a new ship for Uniworld guests in 2019 and the nicest ship on the Yangtze River.Enchanting Danube (8-days from $3,989): Guests will discover the best of Eastern and Western Europe onboard the luxurious S.S. Maria Theresa. Gems of Northern Italy (10-days from$4,479): Guests will uncover the extraordinary hidden treasures of Venice and Northern Italy including an exclusive opening and lighting ceremony at St. Mark’s Basilica, the charm of seaside Chioggia, wine pairings at a historic wine estate and more On U, travellers can save on the new Northern France at a Glance itinerary, (8-days from $2,399 per person).For full terms and conditions and to book, agents can call 1300 780 231 or visit uniworld.com
Go back to the e-newsletter >On 26 August 2015, the InterContinental Bali Resort was awarded the Bali Leading Family Resort award by Bali Tourism Award (BTA). The BTA is a non-governmental award given to a variety of tourism and hospitality industries based on an online voting system, assessed by Binus Business School and judged by the Board of Advisors BTA 2015.InterContinental Bali Resort has been acknowledged as one of the leading family resorts, providing a wide range of activities for parents, teens and toddlers. The kids’ club, Planet Trekkers, is a fully supervised and secured mini-resort for children, filled with ample recreational space, age-appropriate children’s facilities and indoor and outdoor activities including kite-making, dress-ups, dance, turtle release and Indonesian Bahasa language lessons.The resort also provides a variety of water sports, is located less than a 15min drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport and offers 417 rooms, suites and private villas housed in 6 separate wings.Go back to the e-newsletter >
Seattle, Washington – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineSeabourn has announced a diverse line-up of prominent guest speakers who will be among those enhancing the 116-day world cruise aboard the Seabourn Quest in 2013. The speakers’ breadth of knowledge is as worldly as the cruise itself, including such notables as the sly, witty comedienne Rita Rudner, NASA astronomer Dr. Norman Caisse and satirical author Christopher Buckley. Seabourn Quest’s world cruise will depart January 6, 2013, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and end in Venice, Italy on May 3, visiting an array of exotic destinations in the South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia and Southeast Asia, India, Arabia and the Mediterranean.Luminaries including scientists, historians, scholars, maritime experts, documentary filmmakers and politicians will share their expertise and provide valuable insights on destinations to Seabourn Quest guests during their memorable world cruise.“This is a very exciting group of speakers with personalities and portfolios as diverse as the ports of call the cruise will visit,” said John Delaney, Seabourn’s senior vice president, marketing and sales. “Many of them specialize in the regions we visit, and their knowledge will undoubtedly enhance our guests’ cruise experiences and entertain them on their way around the globe.”The onboard enrichment line-up augments an extensive array of day and night entertainment that ranges from dynamic, up-to-the-minute vocal revues, classical recitals, comedy, engaging quiz shows, dance classes and live music for dancing.Introduced on June 20, 2011, Seabourn Quest is the third iteration of the sleek and widely admired design that has been hailed as a game-changer for the luxury segment. Seabourn Quest’s wealth of luxurious amenities and features make it the ideal ship for extended voyages such as a world cruise.www.seabourn.com
Categories: Barrett News,News Measure sets Feb. 1 for recognizing organization 18Mar Barrett bill commemorates state’s Blue Star Mothers State Rep. Tom Barrett this week introduced legislation to make Feb. 1 a day of recognition for Blue Star Mothers of America.Rep. Barrett, R-Potterville, introduced House Bill 4347 to recognize the organization, which was founded in Flint on Feb. 1, 1942. Blue Star Mothers are mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, foster mothers and female guardians who have a son or daughter serving in the military.“I’m so proud that an organization like this was founded in Michigan. These women support each other and our troops while promoting patriotism, and we should make every effort to recognize their efforts and sacrifice,” Rep. Barrett said. “The organization focuses on our troops, our veterans and the families of our heroes.”Blue Star Mothers consists of more than 6,000 members from 200 chapters across the nation. Rep. Barrett, a U.S. Army veteran who serves as a helicopter pilot in the National Guard, said he looks forward to hearing testimony on the legislation in the House Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, where he serves as chair.An accompanying bill was introduced in the state Senate.#####
Categories: Vaupel News 29May Rep. Hank Vaupel announces summer reading contest Participating students have a chance to be “Rep. for a Day”State Rep. Hank Vaupel is sponsoring a summer reading challenge for local elementary school students. The first-term lawmaker is hoping for strong student participation.“A life-long interest in reading can act as a starting point for success,” said Rep. Vaupel, R-Fowlerville. “I hope that this contest is a fun and easy way for students to keep an interest in reading during the summer break.”The summer reading contest, which will run June 1 to Sept. 1, is open to students enrolled in grades one through five. Readers who have finished 10 books can drop off the completed bookmarks in the contest drop box at their local library. There is no limit to the number of bookmarks that can be submitted, so long as each bookmark lists 10 completed books.Rep. Vaupel then will draw names of the winners of the contest and welcome them to the Capitol this fall so they can act as state representatives for a day. Each of the winning students will be invited to be sworn in as an honorary legislator and experience what it is like to be a state representative. Bookmarks necessary for entering the contest are available throughout the summer at the following participating libraries: The Howell Carnegie District Library, 314 Grand River Ave. in Howell; Fowlerville District Library, 131 Mill St. in Fowlerville; and Cromaine Library, 3688 Hartland Rd. in Hartland; and the Cromaine Crossroads Branch Library in the Hartland Town Center on Old US 23.Additional entry form bookmarks can also be downloaded and printed at www.RepHankVaupel.com.
Categories: Howell News State Rep. Gary Howell, R-North Branch, today praised his colleagues in the House of Representatives for approving legislation to help ensure the cleanup of petroleum and other hazardous substances leaking from underground tanks.The bill ensures the one-cent fee collected for each gallon of refined petroleum sold or imported in Michigan is used for its intended purpose of cleaning up contaminated sites. Howell serves as chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, which endorsed the bill.“It’s critically important to prevent the substances leaking out of old storage tanks from contaminating our groundwater,” Howell said. “We cannot allow the state to use this money for other purposes, like it has in the past. The Refined Petroleum Fund needs to be dedicated toward remediating and closing petroleum contaminated sites, as it was originally intended.”The bill also expands opportunities to assist known owners and operators of underground storage tank systems to clean up older contaminated sites. Under current law, funding is only awarded to cleanup projects where the owner of the leaking tank is unknown. The new Legacy Release Program would provide matching funds up to $50,000 per site to clean up contamination.“This bill is an important win for our citizens and for the environment,” Howell said. “It will encourage the prompt cleanup of contamination and ensure that problems are not kicked down the road.”House Bill 4583 now advances to the Senate for consideration.### 26Jun Rep. Howell praises legislation to facilitate cleanup of petroleum leaks
Categories: News,Vaupel News State Rep. Hank Vaupel today joined a bipartisan majority of his House colleagues in voting to end burdensome driver responsibility fees and forgive debt associated with them.Vaupel, of Handy Township, said driver responsibility fees were initially conceived in 2003 by irresponsible spending by a past administration, which resulted in a budget shortfall. He said an unintended consequence of the fees – which are paid on top of court costs and fines – is that people often lose their driver’s licenses when they are unable to pay.“The loss of driving privileges is devastating for people in rural areas such as Livingston County, which doesn’t have many public transportation options,” Vaupel said. “Unable to drive to work, people end up losing their jobs and depending on public assistance to feed their families.”Vaupel said the eight-bill legislative package allows people to regain their driving privileges and gives them non-monetary ways to pay their fees until Oct. 1, 2018, including community service and workforce development programs.“Our legislation also forgives all debt associated with driver responsibility fees, which will be of tremendous help to families,” Vaupel said “With debt forgiveness and restored driving privileges, people will again be able to participate in Michigan’s economic comeback.”The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.#####The bills are House Bills 5040-5046, 5079 and 5080. House approves elimination of fees, debt forgiveness 02Nov Rep. Vaupel: Now is the time to end driver responsibility fees
21Mar Rep. Hauck: Extra road repair money coming to Isabella, Midland counties Rep. Roger Hauck of Union Township today said additional road repair money is headed to Isabella and Midland counties for immediate use this year.Hauck supported a new law providing $175 million in transportation funding statewide with much of the money headed directly to counties, cities and villages for road preservation and construction. The money is already available because various state departments did not spend as much as originally projected during a previous budget cycle. No additional fees or taxes are required for the investment.The extra money signed into law this week comes in addition to record-level road funding providing by previous long-term reforms. The state also has strengthened its warranty system designed to make sure new and refurbished roads will last longer.“This additional funding is a good example of how I continue to make road improvements a high priority,” Hauck said. “Drivers are tired of poor road conditions, and I can’t blame them. Help is on the way now.”Some of the municipalities in line for additional funding include Isabella County ($568,532) and Midland County ($639,180). Cities and villages receive money on top of that, including Clare ($25,765), Coleman ($12,335), Lake Isabella ($19,851), Mount Pleasant ($173,048), Rosebush ($3,886) and Shepherd ($11,650).### Categories: Hauck News,News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJune 17, 2014; Chattanooga Times Free PressThe North Georgia Electric Membership Corp., which serves seven counties, has a program that rounds all electrical bills up to the next dollar, and in March, it “opted in” all of its customers. Not all of them are so happy with the giving scheme, called Operation Round Up.When customers had to opt in, participation was only at 3 percent of the 98,000-person customer base. Now, since customers have to consciously opt out, participation is at 76 percent, and the cooperative expects to see a $30,000 monthly return from the program, up from the previous $1,200 a month.Some locals are not pleased. “There are thousands of people who struggle to make ends meet each month, and many of them are not going to scrutinize their electric bill’s fine print to see they are now being ‘taxed’ by NGEMC,” said Peter J. Cutt, a local businessman. “While some people—like me—might catch this slick little change and immediately opt out, I have no doubt that there are many people who will have no idea that they are now contributing.”The most any customer will pay toward the program is $11.88 annually, but the average customer will pay about $6.“We tried to give people plenty of notice,” said Laura Sparks of the utility, who said notices were placed in customers’ bills in January and February and in March’s newsletter. “We feel strongly as a cooperative that that’s a big part of our mission, that we are part of the community, that we give back to the community.” To date, money raised in this way has gone to programs that support literacy, provide children’s vision screening, and support the Special Olympics, she said.Right, but this is customers’ money, apparently being used to make the corporation look generous.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
German cable technology provider DEV has named Stefan Philipps as its new area sales manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.Philipps succeeds Harald Busold, who has left the company. He will report to Rainer Lorger, head of sales and marketing. Before joining DEV, Philipps worked at Titan Commerce, helping US networking companies at to enter the German market.
Digital set-top vendor Kaonmedia and conditional access company Verimatrix have partnered to help UAE telco Etisalat deliver its OTT service OnWeb.The companies have developed an Android pay TV solution that features Kaonmedia’s Android-based SmartCube/TV+ consumer devices with digital TV revenue security from Verimatrix and its Video Content Authority System for internet TV. The platform is a secure broadcast TV solution for OTT delivery of premium content, supported by a user interface, full internet access and apps from the Kaon App Store.The solution has been deployed as a component of Etisalat’s OTT services in the United Arab Emirates.Separately, Serbia Broadband and Telemach, the Slovenian and Bosnian cable TV and broadband internet provider, have deployed the VCAS for internet TV platform, to deliver over-the-top video services and provide enhanced revenue security.
NBC Universal is closing several of its international channels and has placed a group of its staff at risk of redundancy, DTVE sister publication TBI has learned.Industry sources confirmed that NBC will close several of its networks. The channels are part of NBC Universals international television group, which is run by Kevin MacLellan.Specifically, its channel division Universal Networks International will close general entertainment service Universal Channel in Japan, Greece and Turkey.In Japan, NBCUniversal wants to focus on the other channels it runs in the country, Golf and its news network CNBC.The Syfy channel in Russia will also close. Universal and Diva will still operate in Russia.Between 20-and-25 positions are at risk of redundancy following the news of the closures.The international closures and potential job losses follow reports last week of 450 job losses at NBC Universal in the US across its broadcast and cable TV and film divisions, but this is the first news of job losses at the international division.NBC Universal was keen to underline recent channels deals with Brazilian pay TV operator Globosat, under the terms of which it rolled out Syfy and Studio Universal.Earlier this month NBCUniversal also renewed a channel deal with BSkyB in the UK, securing the carriage of channels including Universal Channel, E! Entertainment, Syfy, The Style Network and Movies 24 on the pay TV platform.Comcast and NBC Universal completed their merger in January 2011.The Universal Networks bouquet comprises Syfy Universal, Diva Universal, Studio Universal, Universal Channel and 13th Street Universal, E! Entertainment, The Style Network, Golf Channel, Movies 24 and KidsCo.
RTL Group recorded overall quarterly revenue of €1.3 billion, up 0.5% year-on-year. Profit increased 8.4%, taking the total to €207 million.The company said that advertising markets remain challenging across its footprint with only Germany in positive territory.The revenue and profit uptick was largely attributable to the sale of Handball TV rights by UFA Sports and an improved performance at RTL Germany, which reported a 22% increase in quarterly profit of €134 million.Profit was down at French free-to-air broadcaster M6, which posted EBITA of €60 million compared with €63 million a year earlier. The decline came as the wider French TV advertising market declined by almost 11%.RTL Nederland reported revenue of €92 million, a €2 million year-on-year increase, but profit was down by €1 million, taking the total to €4 millionProduction arm FremantleMedia reported year-on-year declines in revenue and profit. The producer and distributor blamed ‘phasing effects’ – programmes that have been ordered but not yet aired – may not have in Germany, the UK and Australia.FremantleMedia has reorganised in recent months, creating a new kids and family division and moving other activities previously overseen by FremantleMedia Enterprises to its regional operations.The company reported first quarter revenues of €303 million compared with €311 million in the same period a year earlier. Profit was €10 million compared with €13 million.FremantleMedia touted the success of its digital services, noting that its YouTube channels received 1.2 billion views in the quarter, an 86% increase year on year.
Streaming video box-maker Roku has raised US$60 million (€46.5 million) in Series F funding from new and returning investors to help fund further growth of the business.The round was led by an unnamed firm that Roku described as “one of the world’s largest institutional investors” – reported to be Fidelity. US media firm Heart Corporation was the other new investor, with prior backers BSkyB and News Corp also contributing to the round.Roku said the funds would help it grow its streaming software and services business. Though the firm is best known for its streaming player boxes, Roku is also working to with other consumer electronics brands to extend its platform with new ‘Roku Ready’ devices.Roku said it is currently working with two dozen electronics manufacturers that are making more than 3.5 million Roku Ready devices, mainly TVs, that will retail by the end of the year.These devices are designed to work with Roku’s Roku Streaming Stick, a USB-sized device sold by Roku, though the firm said it will continue to expand access points to its streaming platform in the coming months.“Roku has a significant portfolio of investment and strategic partners with very successful global businesses. Their recognition of our brand success and belief in the Roku platform is a tremendous endorsement of our potential to shape the future television experience,” said Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood.“BSkyB and News Corporation are exceptional partners and we look forward to deepening our relationship with Hearst in the months to come.”
UK television viewers watched an average of 3 hours, 44 minutes, 30 seconds a day per person in 2014, down 4.5% year-on-year as viewing habits continue to change. According to the research – done by Thinkbox, the UK marketing body for commercial TV, and based on BARB viewing data – the decline in TV viewing was “entirely down to a drop in TV set viewing,” which decreased by 4.7%.Viewing on other screens, such as tablets and laptops, grew year-on-year by 17%, though the research implies that this still only accounts for a very small proportion of overall TV viewing.Thinkbox said that in 2014 98.4% of all TV was watched on a TV set, with just 1.6% watched on other screens. Some 86% of TV set viewing was also on a main TV set in the living room.The non-TV set viewing was calculated based on stream data provided by the UK broadcasters, while the TV set viewing data came from BARB’s live viewing panel, which is designed to offer a representative picture of the in-home viewing behaviour of the 26 million TV households within the UK.“In 2014, 88% of all TV set viewing was watched live compared to 89% in 2013,” said Thinkbox. However, it said that there is no data yet to show what proportion of TV watched on other screens is live-streamed.“Specifically in the 58% of households that own a digital television recorder, 83% of TV on a TV set in 2014 was watched live compared to 84% in 2013. So the level of non-live viewing (i.e. playback and VOD within 7 days on a TV set) seems to be settling around the 15-20% mark.”The research said that 65.8% of TV set viewing in 2014 was to commercial TV channels, meaning that the average person watched 2 hours 25 minutes of commercial TV a day.As the fastest adopters of viewing TV via other screens, people aged 16 to 34 watched 7.1% less TV on TV sets in 2014 compared to 2013. However, 74.8% of the TV viewing by people in this age demographic was on commercial TV.Thinkbox said that though there was an overall decline in TV viewing, TV’s reach of the UK population stayed virtually the same – 94.2% a week in 2014 compared to 94.6% in 2013. “It isn’t that people have stopped watching linear TV; it is that those who were watching the most watched a bit less,” said Thinkbox.
German regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, yesterday kicked off its auction of the 700 MHz spectrum, which is being reallocated on a Europe-wide basis from broadcast to mobile broadband use.In the first of a wave of anticipated 700 MHz auctions from European Union countries, Germany is allowing bids from Telefónica Germany, Telekom Deutschland and Vodafone in what is expected to be a multi-round process.“Frequencies in the 700 MHz band have so far been used for terrestrial television. The switch to DVB-T2 means that they will be freed up and can be used for mobile broadband,” said the Bundesnetzagentur, which is making an early bid to reallocate the band.“Network operators will be able to roll out high speed internet using relatively few base stations to those areas that are currently under-served. The Bundesnetzagentur’s goal is to use these frequencies to achieve almost complete nationwide provision of the population with broadband internet access – as is already the case with mobile voice telephony. For this reason the frequency usage rights include a coverage obligation of 98% of the population.”The 700 MHz band is being auctioned off along with spectrum in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1.5 GHz bands for mobile and fixed communications.Currently 900 MHz and 1800 MHz form the basis of Germany’s existing mobile communications network, especially nationwide mobile voice communication. However, the Bundesnetzagentur said that this spectrum should also be used in the future for broadband internet access.Plans to reallocate the 700 MHz band from terrestrial broadcasting to wireless broadband in region one (Europe, Africa and the Middle East) were first set in motion at the World Radiocommunications Conference in 2012.Last year, the European Commission’s ‘Lamy Report’ recommended that the 700 MHz spectrum allocation should take place across Europe by 2020 – plus or minus two years – allowing for individual countries to plan and execute their own reallocations of the band. The UK’s 700 MHz auction is expected at some point during the current parliament.
Vera BuzanelloDiscovery Networks has handed Latin American distribution chief Vera Buzanello control of the Iberian region.Buzanello has been named general manager and executive VP of Discovery Networks Iberia, replacing former country manager Fernando Jerez.She will also retain oversight of distribution strategy and affiliate relations for Discovery Latin America, and will continue to work closely with Discovery’s Latin America / US Hispanic and Canada president and managing director Enrique R. Martinez.In Spain and Portugal, she will oversee several local channels, including free-to-air network Discovery MAX, reporting to Marinella Soldi, president and MD for Discovery Networks Southern Europe. Buzanello has already overseen distribution in Iberia for a number of years.“Vera is one of the most successful executives in Discovery, experienced in building businesses through productive relationships that drive value for our partners and most importantly for our passionate fans,” said Soldi.“My goal is to expand the business in both Spain and Portugal to offer Discovery’s innovative and high quality content to more viewers,” said Buzanello. “I am fully committed to ensuring the Discovery brand becomes an even stronger force amongst viewers, institutions, partners and investors in Iberia’s TV market.”
The Walking DeadFox Networks Group Asia has hooked up with pay platform Now TV to launch its streaming service in Hong Kong.Now TV subscribers will get exclusive access to Fox+ in the Chinese territory, with non-subscribers offered a free trial period and a subsequent HK$188 monthly fee.The service has been made widely available in Europe this year, with Fox offering it to both aid its affiliate partners and target non-cable customers.The Hong Kong app will offer 10,000 hours of programming, including original Fox shows such as National Geographic’s The Long Road Home and Brain Game, movies including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Logan and day-and-date US series including The Walking Dead (pictured), The Gifted, American Horror Story and Ray Donovan.There will also a selection of Chinese and Asian movies and miniseries, including the five-part financial thriller Trading Floor, which comes from Andy Laus’s Focus Television, and crime thriller series Stained, which is from writer-director Patrick Kong. Both shows debut in the first quarter of next year.Within the Asian back catalogue are classic Hong Kong-produced movies such as A Better Tomorrow and Once Upon a Time in China, and TV series such as My Date with a Vampire.There will also be live options for sports-focused customers.“This collaboration further strengthens our OTT offering,” said Janice Lee, managing director of Now TV parent PCCW Media Group.“With Fox+, Now TV customers can enjoy an enhanced experience with multi-device and multi-streaming of the latest dramas, movies and a variety of sports content anytime, anywhere, with exclusive subscription privileges, while other customers can subscribe to the app via our online platform store.now.com.”
Quality assurance technology specialist Agama Technologies has teamed up with video player specialist THEO Technologies to incorporate the latter’s THEOplayer in the Agama OTT service assurance solution.According to Agama, the partnership will enable OTT service providers to combine both technologies to enable services across all browsers and devices, benefiting from analytics capabilities.The THEOplayer is an HTML5-based video player that the company says supports every platform and device via a set of different SDKs.“We are delighted to be partnering with THEO Technologies, a front-runner in the player industry, This strategic partnership enables OTT video service providers to gain the crucial insights needed into service performance and subscriber experience, something that is paramount in today’s fast-moving OTT environment,” said Johan Görsjö, director of product management at Agama Technologies. ““With Agama, THEOplayer’s universal video player integrates with a skilled partner in the monitoring, assurance and analytics part of the video delivery infrastructure. As OTT and streaming media companies today require total control of the whole delivery chain, this partnership ensures a high-quality viewing experience on a wide variety of connected devices”, said Pieter-Jan Speelmans, chief technical officer at THEO Technologies.
Cable and broadband technology outfit Teleste has issued a profit warning after reporting criminal activity targeting an unnamed subsidiary.Teleste said that, as it is currently unable to estimate the total amount of potential insurance compensation and recovered losses, the company will at this stage record in full a non-recurring cost of approximately €7 million, which will be reported in other operating expenses in the first quarter of the current year.Teleste said that suspected perpetrators have induced a subsidiary o make unwarranted payments to third parties in an amount totalling approximately €7 million as a result of identity theft and other possibly illegal actions.The company said it was examining the conditions under which it could claim insurance compensation for the theft. Teleste said that any potential losses would be extraordinary costs, which do not affect its ability to generate operating profit or endanger its solvency.Teleste said that a police investigation is ongoing.