SANTIAGO, Chile – Two men and a woman were arrested early Thursday on suspicion of involvement in a recent bombing in a subway station in the Chilean capital, police said.Fourteen people were injured when a homemade bomb rocked an area with food stalls inside the packed Escuela Militar station in Santiago at lunchtime on September 8.The government has deemed the unclaimed attack, the worst to hit Chile in 24 years, a “terrorist act” in what is considered by many to be the safest capital in Latin America.Prosecutors accused the three suspects of planting the bomb.Investigators also linked the three to another subway explosion that occurred in July but did not cause any injuries.“We welcome this morning’s news of the arrests of three suspects involved in terrorist acts we have seen over recent months,” Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo told reporters.President Michele Bachelet said the arrests were “an important step” toward solving the case and punishing those responsible.The three were arrested at a house in the densely populated La Pintana neighborhood early Thursday and taken to a police station in eastern Santiago, a police spokesman told AFP.Local media said police who searched the house found clothing with traces of gunpowder and tools that could be used to make bombs.So far, an investigation has found that those detained are part of a “fairly compact and tight cell,” said Raul Guzman, an official with the prosecutor’s office.He said there was still much to be done in the case.Last Friday, authorities in the northern city of Antofagasta arrested three men carrying dynamite and other ingredients that could be used for a bomb, but “terrorism” was ruled out as a motive in that case.The September 8 attack was the most destructive of some 200 unsolved bombings that have targeted banks, gyms, embassies and restaurants in the South American country over the past five years.Recommended: Chile bombings shake Latin America’s model nation Facebook Comments Related posts:Bomb rocks packed Chile metro station, 10 injured Chile bombings shake Latin America’s model nation Islamic State terrorists talked of entering U.S. through Mexico France, allies signal major response after Paris attacks leave at least 127 dead
Ed note: Heading out to this year’s 55th annual Fourth of July Celebration Saturday at the Cervecería Costa Rica? Check out our digital flipbook event program here. –The new U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, S. Fitzgerald Haney, made his first public appearance Thursday during an Independence Day celebration at the ambassador’s residence in Escazú, southwest of the capital.Costa Rican Vice President Helio Fallas and acting Foreign Minster Alejandro Solano represented the Costa Rican government at the event celebrating the United States’ 239th Independence Day.“Over time our nation has extended equal rights and opportunities for all U.S. citizens. Our diversity is a strength and something personal for me,” Haney said as he recounted his ancestors’ participation in the American Revolution and his mother’s march for civil rights.“Beyond our own inheritance, as citizens of the world we celebrate democracy. Costa Rican democracy is a … reflection of a nation deeply committed to peace, faith, equality and respect for human rights. We are proud to be your neighbors and friends,” Haney told the crowd of Costa Rican guests and U.S. citizens.“The ties that bind our two countries, common ideals and future goals, have never been stronger,” he said.Haney’s mention of President Barack Obama’s move to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba won applause from the crowd, as did the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision granting citizens the constitutional right to same-sex marriage.Acting Foreign Minister Alejandro Solano said that the American Revolution was an inspirational example for Latin Americans who waged their own wars of independence against the Spanish Crown in the decades after U.S. independence.The United States and Costa Rica established formal diplomatic ties on July 10, 1851.Recommended: A look back at a different world: Remembering the Fourth of July Picnic, 1965 Facebook Comments Related posts:Obama lauds ‘shared democratic values’ in statement marking Costa Rica’s independence US Ambassador to Costa Rica: Embassy will remain at forefront of LGBT issues US ambassador to Costa Rica talks marijuana legalization, trade New ambassadors from Canada, EU, UK arrive in Costa Rica
Global hospitality management chain, Swiss-Belhotel International, has added even more luxury to The York by Swiss-Belhotel in Sydney with the introduction of stunning new suites.The Swiss-SuperSuites range from studios to a three-bedroom penthouse and have been designed with the hotel’s special guests in mind, giving the upscale property greater appeal to leisure or business travellers. Swiss-Belhotel International chairman and president Gavin Faull, said the new suites will add a lot of appeal to the property. “From the busy senior executive to the guest looking for an inner city oasis of relaxation, the Swiss-SuperSuites are a luxury experience to remember,” Mr Faull said.The York by Swiss-Belhotel is a serviced residence with 150 suites, with spacious rooms ranging from 60 square metres to 165 square metres.It offers studios, one, two and three-bedroom suites, with some boasting stunning Sydney Harbour views.Swiss-Belhotel International currently has more than 125 hotels, resort and projects in its global portfolio.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
GAO Analyzes Risk-Retention Rule On Tuesday the “”Government Accountability Office””:http://www.gao.gov/ (GAO) added to fears over rising mortgage rates by releasing a new report that casts concern on the role risk retention will play in the markets.[IMAGE]A provision in the Dodd-Frank Act obligates the “”GAO””:http://www.gao.gov/ to perform an economic impact analysis, making the report a timely one since it arrives on the heels of outcry from trade and industry associations. The report examined data from several mortgage servicers and analytics companies, including “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com/kb/index?page=home, “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/, and “”CoreLogic””:http://www.corelogic.com/.””A key challenge in implementing the Dodd-Frank Act’s provisions is balancing the goal of protecting borrowers from unsustainable mortgage products with the goal of maintaining broad access to mortgage credit,”” the report says. [COLUMN_BREAK]It added that mortgage-related provisions in Dodd-Frank would prescribe “”tradeoffs”” between additional consumer financial protection and a needed expansion in credit supply.The “”GAO””:http://www.gao.gov/ said that mortgage industry representatives reported that the approval of the risk-retention rule “”could disproportionately affect populations that tend to take out smaller mortgages such as lower-income, first-time, rural, and minority borrowers.””The risk-retention rule continues to create controversy in the mortgage lending and servicing industries. Much like the report, critics charge that the rule will stress banks, crimping the already-tight credit supply and offloading costs onto consumers.””If you end up with an overly restrictive-risk retention requirement, and if by a number of measures the risk-retention requirement is proposed, it will eliminate about 50 percent to 70 percent that GSEs are buying,”” says Bob Davis, EVP for mortgage markets and public policy at the “”American Bankers Association””:http://www.aba.com/default.htm.Asked how the risk-retention rule would impact banks, Davis said that “”these institutions [are] facing a very uncertain environment for multiple reasons as to their capital requirement. They’re building up capital for contingent liabilities├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª so they can remain in business if this new capital requirement is going to be imposed on them.”” July 20, 2011 509 Views Agents & Brokers GAO Lenders & Servicers QRM Service Providers 2011-07-20 Ryan Schuette in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing Share
By Stelios OrphanidesIn May, non-performing loans in the Cypriot banking system fell by €127.2m in a month to €23bn or 46.2 per cent of the total mainly on a drop in corporate loans, the Central Bank of Cyprus said.Corporate non-performing loans decreased in May by €106.1m to below €10.6bn mainly on a reduction of delinquent loans extended to small and medium size enterprises by €83.5m to €9.2bn, the central bank said in a statement on its website on Friday. Household non-performing loans fell by €26.8m to below €12bn.In May, 90 days past due loans rose by €3.6m to €17.8bn mainly on a €75.5m increase in household loans in arrears and together with a €10.5m increase in the case of other financial corporations to €391.44m, the offset a €82.4m reduction to €88bn in the case of corporations, the central bank said.The overall amount of restructured facilities in May fell by €52.3m to €12.9m mainly on a €25.5m reduction in the case of households followed by €15.1m drop in the case of companies, the bank supervisor said. The amount of restructured loans being serviced fell by €54.5m to €9.1bn mainly on a €35.8m drop in the case of non-financial corporations and €13.2m in the case of households.The overall cure ratio of restructured loans was 70 per cent in May, the central bank said. In the case of companies, it was also 70 per cent and in the case of households 72 per cent.Total provisions fell by €58.9m to €9.8bn, in the fifth month of the year, the central bank said.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoSenior Living | Search AdsCheap Senior Apartments in Rowland Heights Are Turning HeadsSenior Living | Search AdsUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
06Jan Rep. Lucido schedules office hours for 36th District Categories: Lucido News,News State Rep. Peter J. Lucido, R-Shelby Township, will host six in-district office hours over the next three months to meet with residents of the 36th House District.“My primary responsibility is representing the residents of my home district in Lansing,” said Rep. Lucido. “These in-district hours at the Shelby Township and Washington Township senior centers allows me the opportunity to properly do that, providing an open venue to hear concerns and ideas from constituents that I will take with me to the Capitol.”Residents can meet with Rep. Lucido at the following dates and times:Shelby Township Senior Center, located at 51670 Van Dyke RoadMonday, Jan. 30, at 9-10:30 a.m.Monday, Feb. 27, at 6:30-8 p.m.Monday, March 20, at 6:30-8 p.m.Washington Township Senior Center, located at 57880 Van Dyke RoadMonday, Jan. 23, at 6:30-8 p.m.Monday, Feb. 13, at 9-10:30 a.m.Monday, Mar. 13, at 9-10:30 a.m.No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend. Residents unable to meet during the scheduled office hours are encouraged to contact Rep. Lucido’s office by phone at (888) MICH-REP, or by email at PeterLucido@house.mi.gov.###
Share18TweetShareEmail18 Sharesphoto.ua / Shutterstock.comAugust 31st, 2015; Denver PostThe battle over cultural funding in the Denver area continues. As reported by NPQ, a taskforce has made recommendations about how to allocate funds generated for the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). The problem? Many of Denver and the surrounding area’s arts, cultural, and scientific organizations are unhappy with those recommendations, which are criticized for being inequitable and irrelevant.The SCFD fund is predicted to reach $87 million in 2016 and will be split among three tiers. The taskforce endorsed a plan that would see Denver’s five largest cultural institutions, which make up Tier I, receive 57 percent of SCDF funding. Tier II, which is made up of 27 organizations, would receive 26 percent, and the remaining 17 percent would be given to the nearly 300 organizations classified as Tier III. The taskforce, made up of 11 members, took nearly four years to develop this proposal, making use of a volunteer base of 350 people who donated “more than 2,500 hours to identify and evaluate options,” according to Denver Post Fine Arts Critic Ray Mark Rinaldi.However, many stakeholders from Tier II and III organizations say that they were not consulted and that the whole process was biased towards Denver’s largest cultural institutions. These individuals have now banded together to form the Friends of Arts & Culture Equity, or FACE, with the goal of reopening the discussion with the SCFD board and taskforce. A lobbyist has been hired to ensure that elected officials are aware of the implications of the SCFD proposed funding model.FACE has strong allies in their quest for economic justice. Mayor Christine Berg of Lafayette, Colorado, asked all other Boulder County mayors to oppose the SCFD’s proposal. It is important to note that although Boulder contributes $4.5 million annually to the SCFD, Boulder’s cultural organizations only see $995,000 in SCFD funding. Berg says the proposed funding model will “exacerbate the imbalanced SCFD funding as growth occurs.”Echoing previous critics of the plan, Tier III member Stella Yu, executive director of Arts Street, noted that “only…Tier IIIs have organizations owned and operated by minorities…taking risks in programs that increase diversity.” Indeed, while the SCFD was lauded as innovative when the program began in the 1980s, many detractors are now characterizing it as outdated. As in NPQ’s previous newswire on the subject, questions of accessibility are being raised. While the SCFD may have been a fitting solution in 1988, the cultural landscape has since shifted; organizations are popping up in suburbs throughout the region, rather than in Denver, and the Denver area now boasts a much more ethnically diverse population.If there’s one thing that SCFD and FACE can agree on, it’s that neither wants to alienate voters, who will go to the polls in 2016. Because voters must approve the SCFD funding, both sides are interested in dealing with this dispute as quietly as possible. However, if the escalating use of lobbyists, news stories, and media releases is any indication, this conversation will be anything but quiet.—Maggie Hodge KwanShare18TweetShareEmail18 Shares
Share9TweetShareEmail9 SharesAnti-ISIS Demonstration / Robert Lyle BoltonDecember 20, 2015; Time MagazineIn the midst of our coverage of the reactions positive and negative to accepting crisis-torn refugees into the United States, we’ve noticed the media as a whole has devoted less time to discussing the situation causing the mass exodus out of the Middle East. Many wish not to know exactly what ISIS is doing. The few media outlets that have covered the personal stories of those escaping ISIS captivity have detailed the brutal reality of an unfolding of the mass genocide of the Yazidi people. Spotlighting those stories is vital and they may change the tune of those politicians and public figures that have turned their backs on the refugees.The Yazidi (or Yezidi) people in Iraq are largely ostracized by their society. As they do not follow Islam, they are a religious minority in Iraq, a fact used to justify torture and rape against them. Nadia Murad Basee Taha, an Iraqi young woman of Yazidi ethnicity, was one of thousands of women who have been sold into slavery for the ISIS militants. While she escaped, her family and thousands of others are still trapped in refugee camps or with ISIS. The situation may well be seen as a genocide of the Yazidi people.To help them, Nadia is working with the U.S.-based nonprofit Yazda, which helps support escaped Yazidi women. She visited New York to speak at the U.N. Security Council and tell them her story. While she could not save her family members, Nadia is trying to bring attention to exactly what ISIS is doing in Iraq and Syria to, perhaps, help others.Nadia’s story is detailed in the Time article, and it is disturbing. ISIS believes in institutional slavery and “corrective rape” of non-Muslim women. It is estimated that approximately 3,400 people are still held by ISIS, most believed to be women. Men are either killed or converted into militants themselves. Nadia was sold and repeatedly raped before she escaped.Not everyone is ignoring the Yazidi people’s plight. Politico ran a powerful story in early October about the desperation of the situation. The author, a Yazidi woman herself, contends that ISIS rapes girls as young as eight years old and many girls and women are sold multiple times to be serially abused and sexually assaulted by militants.“Slowly but surely, I and a determined group of people are getting Yazidi prisoners out of this nightmare,” writes Vian Dakhil for Politico. “There are some volunteers willing to go into ISIS-controlled areas to save those girls and help them all get back safely to Iraqi Kurdistan. With no help from any government, we’ve been able to rescue 2,150 of the 5,840 Yazidi men, women and children who were taken prisoner—800 of them young girls.”These stories of horror parallel those from some of the refugees looking for passage into the United States fleeing the Nazi holocaust of the 1940s, a comparison many have already made, including us at NPQ. As noted by Amy Butcher, “America only backpedaled on its anti-refugee stance and took action to rescue Jews in 1944 once the full horrors committed under the Nazis came to light.” But it’s also known that many people knew of the inhumane acts that were being performed long before any formal action was taken, including officials in the Western world and German citizens. The Red Cross, which provided humanitarian aid during the war, admitted decades after the Holocaust that it knew about the concentration camps but felt powerless to speak up.“The International Committee of the Red Cross has shared responsibility for the silence of the world community,” said Georges Willemin, the organization’s archivist, to the New York Times in 1996. “Could we have gone further? Could we have done more? I don’t know.”In part, the Red Cross said it needed to maintain neutrality in the war in order to assist prisoners in war camps for both sides. When Willemin was asked why it took so long for the Red Cross to admit what it knew, he said, “Because it takes time to face your own history.”It’s hard to imagine that the politicians who have so strongly resisted accepting refugees don’t know what’s happening, but there is the same unwillingness and forced silence we saw 70 years ago. In the very beginning, the Western world refused to believe Adolf Hitler would try to annihilate an entire population of people. With ISIS, there can be no moment of disbelief. There are videos, there are eyewitnesses, and there is an ever-aware media. Even if they continue to maintain their ignorance, the media must continue to publish as many firsthand accounts and direct reporting from these countries as possible to tell the stories of the refugees trying to find the haven we didn’t provide years ago.—Shafaq HasanShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares
Netflix has hired a senior production and development executive to expand its moves into original programming.The US online streaming service and DVD rental operator announced plans earlier this year to start acquiring and producing exclusive content and it has cemented these plans with the hire of former Playtone exec Peter Friedlander.Netflix announced its first original series will be the David Fincher-directed, Kevin Spacey-fronted political drama House of Cards and has been talking to producers and studios about further series.Friedlander has spent the last years working for Playtone, the production company run by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman.
Spanish cable operators ONO is moving ahead with plans to allow its customers to take its TiVo advanced TV service free of charge for a trial period in order to encourage take-up, according to CEO Rosalía Portela.Portela told DTVE at Cable Congress this week that ONO had changed to focus of its marketing of TiVo since its launch. She said it took a while to communicate the advantages of the platform. “The best tool is to have them try it. We are now making a lot of effort to let them try it and buy it later on,” she said.ONO is moving rapidly to focus on its TiVo offer as the core of its TV services, Portela told DTVE in a video interview at Cable Congress. She said ONO would increasingly look to attract high-value customers with a range of products, including mobile services.“We have always stated that ONO is looking for high quality customers, and that means multiple play…and now that also means mobile,” she said. She said bundling would deliver higher value, but not necessarily higher prices.ONO has come under pressure to keep prices low from competitors, especially Telefónica, which launched its low cost Movistar Fusión service last year.“The telco industry in Spain is in a deflationary situation. We have made important improvements in productivity and this has allowed us to reduce prices, especially on the lower tier products, and at the same time launch premium services,” said Portela.
The Russian ministry of defence has named Yuri Shalimov as CEO of its broadcasting division, encompassing the Star TV channel, a radio service and internet portal, according to local reports.Shalimov previously worked for broadcaster NTV as head of programmes centred on crime and the law. He worked on two controversial shows about anti-government protests that accused the organisers of benefiting from foreign finance and support, leading to charges being laid against some protest leaders and a counter-suit against NTV for defamation.The Russian ministry of defence last year successfully fended off moves to reallocate Star’s broadcasting frequencies to the proposed new public broadcast service championed by Russian prime minister and former president Dmitry Medvedev. However, funding for Star was cut, leading the ministry to look to an advertising-based funding model for the channel.
Jean-René FourtouVivendi president Jean-René Fourtou has given a commitment to Bouygues proprietor Martin Bouygues to study his new offer for telecom group SFR before agreeing to a deal with rival bidder Altice/Numericable, according to French reports.According to Le Figaro, Fourtou told Bouygues earlier this week that Vivendi’s management will examine the new offer with “all necessary rigour” while conforming to its existing commitment to negotiate exclusively with Altice for a period of three weeks.Vivendi’s management are trying to judge what is seen as a difficult balance between maintaining their commitment to Altice, respecting the interests of minority shareholders and employees, and avoiding legal action threatened by Bouygues if its offer is not given proper consideration.It is believed that Vivendi is unlikely to sign a deal before April 4, when its exclusivity commitment with Altice expires.
German broadcaster Your Family Entertainment has teamed up with East African broadcaster and pay TV operator AzamTV to launch a new English-language pan-regional feed of its Yourfamily channel for sub-Saharan Africa.The move marks Your Family Entertainment’s first step in to English-language broadcasting. The company says that an Arabic-language version of its channel will follow later this year.Yourfamily airs animated and live-action shows for kids aged 2-11 and their families. The new English-language channel will air on the AzamTV platform.Tanzania-based AzamTV was launched last year with palns to expand into other countries in the region, with launches scheduled in Uganda and Kenya next month.“Yourfamily is a very exciting addition to the existing kids and family channels available in the region, and will be a compelling channel for platforms that want to increase their distribution, grow their ARPU and extend choice to their subscribers,” said Paul Robinson, recently appointed as EVP, international channel business at Your Family Entertainment.“Creating a balanced bouquet of family entertainment is crucial to our growth plans for AzamTV across Africa,” said Rhys Torrington, CEO of Azam Media.“We want to offer content that is unique, targeted at the younger audience and exciting. Yourfamily fits that description perfectly.”
S3 Group will exhibit at IBC on stand 3.B18 S3 Group will use IBC to debut StormTest Warning Centre, a new part of its end-to-end service validation portfolio.According to S3, StormTest Warning Centre is a new, cloud-based video service monitoring and validation platform designed to ensure peak performance of video services on devices across the network.It provides network operations teams with continuous, automated monitoring of service availability and performance, including linear TV services, on-demand services, interactive menus, set-top box applications and EPG validity. Warning Centre customers can apply pre-defined thresholds for alerts, use real-time analytics to make big data-driven business decisions, and reduce mean-time-to-diagnose and mean-time-to-repair through remote access to network monitoring nodes, according to the company.Warning Centre is designed to work synergistically with S3 Group’s StormTest Development Centre video test automation platform. Whereas Development Centre is designed primarily to test devices and services by development teams in lab environments prior to deployment, Warning Centre provides development and operations teams with ongoing feedback from devices and services within a live network, according to the company.Using the Warning Centre portal, operators can monitor real-time performance and service readiness thresholds, and interact remotely with set-top boxes deployed in the network, according to S3. As part of a pre-launch trial, Irdeto deployed Warning Centre to automate intercontinental monitoring of customer service levels across its global operations in support of the FIFA World Cup.Freesat, the Free-to-air digital satellite television platform in the UK, has also deployed Warning Centre.Key product features include video application performance monitoring, alerts, insights from real-time analytics, 24/7 automated performance monitoring at strategic network nodes and remote access to connected CPE.At IBC S3 will demonstrate its StormTest portfolio, latest advances in video service validation, video platform consultancy and Reference Design Kit (RDK) migration support.
ACTV CEO Godfrey OrkehNigerian pay TV operator ACTV has signed a multi-year contract to use Israel-based Spacecom’s Amos-5 satellite to distribute its content in Ku-band from the 17° East position.ACTV offers about 60 channels including premium services Sky News, Nickelodeon, BBC, Al Jazeera and Fox as well as a range of local channels, including music, children and youth, news, sports, lifestyle, religious, movie and entertainment services.“Creating the ACTV platform is an exciting project and with the support of Amos-5 at 17°E we look forward to an exciting future. Nigerian viewers deserve choice, and we at ACTV are giving them new and stimulating offerings for their pleasure,” said Godfrey Okreh, CEO of ACTV.“Our broadcast neighborhood is bringing information and knowledge to our viewers enabling them to enjoy life to its fullest. As a cost-effective platform backed by an organization based on delivering the highest quality service, ACTV is going to change Nigeria for the better.”According to Spacecom, the contract will significantly strengthen 16-17° East position as the leading DTH and free-to-air video neighbourhood in West Africa.“ACTV is primed to become a force of change in Nigeria’s communications sector and Spacecom is pleased to be their choice for satellite services. Amos-5 at 17° East reaches all of Nigeria with its strong signal. Our team business approach enables our ACTV partners to focus on their competitive advantages in the market,” said Eitan Mesika, Spacecom’s VP sales, West Africa.“Since the satellite’s launch in 2013, we have enjoyed working with Nigerian clients and having ACTV is an example of how we are stepping up our strategy and moving forward in this fast moving market.”
Pat KielyVirgin Media-owned broadcaster TV3 has upped commercial director, Pat Kiely, to managing director of the Irish commercial station.With the appointment, Kiely, who has worked at TV3 since its launch in 1998, also joins the Virgin Media Ireland board.“TV3 is without doubt one of the biggest success stories in recent Irish media and I look forward to building on this,” said Kiely.“I am particularly excited to take up this position as we enter a new era for the business under our new owners Virgin Media and as part of the Liberty Global family.”Liberty Global subsidiary UPC Ireland agreed to buy TV3 for €80 million last July and the broadcaster is now wholly owned by Virgin Media Ireland Limited – part of Liberty Global plc.
Sky has inked a deal with Turner that gives the pay TV operator the exclusive streaming rights to box sets of the channel operator’s hit shows Adventure Time and Gumball.The agreement means a raft of programming will be added to the Sky Kids app, including Cartoon Network’s hit toon series Adventure Time and The Regular Show.Other new shows added to Sky Kids will include the upcoming Powerpuff Girls reboot. There will also be older episodes on the app, with past seasons of The Amazing World of Gumball and classic shows including Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes. Sky and Turner said the exclusive deal was ‘long term’, and will cover content from Boomerang and Cartoonito as well as the flagship Cartoon Network channel. UK-based pay TV operator Sky is beefing up its kids streaming service in the same week that the BBC has rolled out its BBC iPlayer Kids app.Sky rolled out its kids app at the end of last month, with 4,500 episodes of kids content,stealing a march on the UK pubcaster, with its 10,000 episode offering. The pay TV firm said today the Turner deal will help ‘ensure Sky remains the best entertainment choice for children and their parents in the UK and Ireland’.Lucy Murphy, head of Kids Content, Sky said: “Turner produces some of kids’ absolute favourite shows and we are really excited Sky will be the only place they can watch boxsets of The Amazing World of Gumball and Adventure Time.“We want the millions of Sky families to have the very best kid’s entertainment available whenever and wherever they want to watch, including on the amazing new Sky Kids app.”Ian McDonough, senior VP and Managing Director, Turner, Northern Europe added: “Our kids channel and programme brands go from strength to strength with more great launches imminent, including the re-versioned and much loved cult hit The Powerpuff Girls and the latest iteration of perennial boy hero Ben 10.”
Orange in Poland is to extend its fibre network to 10 additional cities, the company has announced.The operator plans to build out its network in the cities of Bielsko-Biala, Czestochowa, Gdynia, Gorzow Wielkopolski, Kielce, Olsztyn, Radom, Rzeszow, Toruń and Włocławek. Orange says that it plans to take its fibre network past 3.5 million homes by 2018, up from 820,000 today.The Orange fibre network is currently available in 16major cities including Warsaw, Krakow, Katowice, Lodz, Bydgoszcz and Elblag.The company’s 4G mobile network in Poland already covers 90% of the country’s population, with plans to extend this to 98% by the end of the year.
Netflix and Amazon go head-to-head in IndiaStreaming service Netflix has bagged exclusive SVOD rights to movies from India’s Red Chillies Entertainment for the next three years, as Amazon Prime Video revealed a raft of original series from the territory.RCE is the prodco of Indian movie star Shah Rukh Khan, who’s popularity among audiences has seen him dubbed ‘King Khan’.The first title from the pact will be Dear Zindagi, which was released theatrically on November 25, with others such as Happy New Year, Dilwale and Om Shanti Om.They will be made available exclusively in India and other Netflix territories, a significant attraction for potential Indian subscribers.“Shah Rukh Khan is the most sought-after actor in the Indian film industry, and has played a huge role in bringing Indian cinema to the world stage,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “His moniker ‘King Khan’ speaks to his status as a cultural icon and to the incredible popularity of his films among audiences worldwide”.Rukh Khan said the Netflix partnership means “no more waiting for our fans wherever they are”.“Red Chillies is surging ahead in global entertainment and for the first time, our great stories are going global on Netflix all at once and crossing all geographical barriers, waiting to be discovered over the world,” he added.The news is a boon for Netflix, following the announcement of Amazon Prime Video’s international roll out yesterday.Amazon is launching a raft of Indian original series to tie in with its Indian debut. These include Equinox Features’ Bodhidharma: Master of Shaolin, Abundantia Entertainment’s Breathe, AIB- and OML-coproduced The Ministry, Excel Media & Entertainment’s Powerplay, Phantom Films’ Stardust, D2R Films’ The Family Man, Big Synergy’s Vishpuri, and Made in Heaven, from Excel and Tiger Baby.Amazon is also developing series with Sujoy Ghosh and Hyunwoo Thomas Kim from Kross Pictures India; Ali Abbas Zafar, Himanshu Kishan Mehra, and Sanjeev Gupta from Offside Entertainment; Rajat Arora from Funk Ur Blues; and Karnesh Sharma and Anushka Sharma from Clean Slate Productions.There are also projects in the works with Raapchik Films, Pritish Nandy Productions, Fission Features, FremantleMedia India, and Still & Still Moving Pictures.“India has one of the richest and most vibrant entertainment industries in the world – Amazon is energised by the talent and the passion of India’s film industry and is excited to be making multiple Indian original shows already, with more to come,” said Roy Price, VP and head of Amazon Studios.“It’s no secret that Amazon is making a big investment in India and is happy to take original content, created by Indian talent, to audiences worldwide. We are also making a commitment to our Indian customers to deliver high-quality, binge-worthy shows that they’ll love to watch.”
Eddy CueApple’s first originals – Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps – will launch on Apple Music in the “next few months”, according to Apple’s SVP of internet software and services, Eddy Cue. Speaking at the Code Media conference in California yesterday, Cue showed a clip of Planet of the Apps and revealed details of the Ben Silverman-produced show, which will see app developers pitch for financial backing and then promotion through the App Store.The series will be available “in most countries in the world” as part of Apple’s 18-month old subscription music offering, as will Carpool Karaoke – Apple’s previously announced Late Late Show with James Corden spin-off.Appearing on-stage alongside Ben Silverman to discuss Planet of the Apps, Cue said that the shows will be exclusive to Apple Music, won’t appear on traditional television and will be available across Apple TV, Mac and iOS devices.“We think that video can be a very important part of Apple Music. It’s one of the differentiating factors that we can add,” said Cue, asked about the reasons for Apple’s move into this space.“We’re just starting out and we’re excited. We think these shows bring something to customers that haven’t been seen before, so there’s something unique, special that we’re bringing to the table. I think there are more ideas like that that we have, so we hope to continue doing more – and we’ll see.”Cue said that Apple has a “real opportunity in the TV space” but is interested in doing programmes that aren’t being done by anyone else – ones that take advantage of its platforms.For this reason he played down the logic of Apple merely buying a large producer and distributer of content – such as a Netflix or a Time Warner – or signing up to make a big budget drama series like Game of Thrones.“We’re not taking the traditional route. This [Planet of the Apps] is a show that’s unlike anything that we see out there that we are able to add value to,” said Cue.“Carpool Karaoke is in a same vein, so the idea is that we do things that we add a certain value to. It’s not just going off the shelf and buying shows. “Planet of the Apps will see contestants pitch for investment from what Apple described as “four of the world’s most culturally influential entrepreneurs” – Will.i.am, Jessica Alba, Gary Vaynerchuk and Gwyneth Paltrow.After a sixty second ‘escalator pitch’ developers try to partner with one of the four advisors. After developing their ideas they will then pitch to VC firm Lightspeed Venture Partners and successful apps will be featured on the Apple App Store.“For us, we’re really excited because a show about apps doesn’t work unless you’re partnered with Apple,” said Silverman, a TV industry veteran and the co-CEO and chairman of production company Propagate.“We may have been able to get every traditional network invested, but we didn’t have a prize. You can’t do American Idol without Sony BMG giving the recording contract.”Planet of the Apps will launch this spring, with a new episode made available each week – rather than a full block of programming being released at once in a Netflix style.Cue said that Apple Music currently has “well past 20 million” subscribers, and claimed there is still huge room to expand. “There’s billions of people listening to music, so we still think the potential for growth is exponential”.News of Apple’s first TV moves come just days after Apple CEO Tim Cook also touted the firm’s interest in another new business area for the company, augmented reality.In an interview with UK newspaper The Independent, Cook said: “I’m excited about augmented reality because unlike virtual reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently.”“I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge.