Singer, songwriter and guitarist Debbie Davies ranks among the top blues artists in the United States. Her career started in the early 1980s; she received the W.C. Handy Award for Best Contemporary Artist in 1997, and the 2010 Blues Music Award as Best Traditional Female Artist.Along the way she has shared the stage with musicians such as Albert Collins, Ike Turner, James Cotton, Mick Taylor, Peter Green, Coco Montoya, Duke Robillard, Tommy Shannon, Chris “Whipper” Layton, Sugar Ray Norcia, Mudcat Ward, Charlie Musselwhite, Bruce Katz, Per Hanson, Noel Neal, and Rod Carey. She has also played in bands including Maggie Mayall and the Cadillacs, Icebreakers, Fingers Taylor and the Ladyfingers Revue.Davies just released her latest album, “Love Spin,” and is now touring to promote it. Costa Rica is on the tour list, and she will be playing Saturday at El Sótano in San José along with Costa Rica’s own JR Blues Band. The Tico Times caught up with her before her visit to discuss the new album and the tour experience thus far. Excerpts:TT: What steered you towards blues, and what has kept you in that world?DD: I always took to anything bluesy that I heard as a kid, but didn’t really know about the blues. My dad had a great collection of Ray Charles records that I always loved. Then it was the British Blues invasion, in particular, John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, that drew me to electric blues guitar.Music is my life. Playing blues is what I do, and I just keep loving it and writing, recording and touring.How does it feel when you are onstage showing your music to all your fans?Onstage I try to get to that place where the audience and I become one. Blues is the music of the human spirit, and it’s all about connection.Tell us about your latest album.“Love Spin” is all about getting your attitude right and turning a negative into a positive. When I record a new CD, it always reflects where I am at in any particular point in my life while writing, and the experiences and feelings that are happening for me.I had the pleasure of being able to get some very special guests on the album with me. Terry Hanck joins me on two tunes with his sax, and we do a duet on a tune called “Let the Heartaches Begin.” Terry toured for years with the Elvin Bishop Band, and is a triple threat as an artist who writes great songs, has one of the best voices in the biz, and is peerless on his instrument.My longtime friend, Dana Robbins, who currently tours with Delbert McClinton, adds her superb sax playing on two other tunes on the CD: “It’s All Blues”, and “I’m not Cheatin’ Yet.” Dana and I toured with John Mayall in the early ’80’s and have been close ever since. She’s really a rare and beautiful talent.A new artist on the scene, Jay Stollman, joins me in another R&B duet, “Don’t Change It Up.” He’s got one of those rare, soulful, gravelly voices that just tears your heart out! I had the honor of producing Jay’s first CD which was just released in the States. We are currently touring and doing a lot of shows together. I am so grateful that “Love Spin” is getting really great reviews and airtime here in the U.S.Is the album completely written by you, or did you collaborate with other musicians?“Love Spin” is an all-original album, with two outside contributions by other great blues artists who are my friends. Lenny McDaniel, who wrote “Talk Real Slow,” just passed away in his home in New Orleans, so we dedicate this song to him every night. The rest of the music is written by me and by my drummer, Don Castagno, who is a well-established songwriter here in the States. We have been working together for almost twenty years, writing sometimes together, and sometimes separately. For “Love Spin” we each had written our own tunes so there was no co-writing on this record.I wrote “Life of the Party” in the funky style of blues that I have always loved, and that I had the pleasure of playing a lot when I was out on the road with Albert Collins.How is the tour going? How have fans reacted to the new album?We are on tour right now in the U.S., in California, and it is going great! I grew up in the West so it is so good to be back. We have a lot of fans out here!Have you ever been to Costa Rica? How do you feel about coming to the country?No, I have never been to Costa Rica and I am really looking forward to it. I feel like getting to travel and visit many countries is one of the blessings of being a musician. Since I grew up in California, I have always known some Spanish, and I hope I can improve it a bit while I am there.What’s your message for all your fans in Costa Rica waiting for you to come?I would like to thank all of the fans for coming out to support the blues. I hope you love the music. Have a great time at the shows!Davis will play with JR Blues Band on August 8 at 9 p.m. at El Sótano, Barrio Amón, San José. Tickets ₡7,000 (approximately $14). More info: El Sotano’s Facebook page or at 2221-2302. Facebook Comments Related posts:Big Band of Costa Rica to celebrate 25 years Envision kicks off with long lines, high spirits, community service The band plays on: “Summer Series” serenades Plaza de la Democracia Dub sounds in Costa Rica: Mad Professor and Mad Elaine
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Award winners AIME 2010 The AIME Awards, held on Wednesday, recognised outstanding contributions of key meetings and incentive industry members as well as exhibitor stand designs.The two top awards of AIME outstanding Contribution AP & International were presented to Barrie Markey, Managing Director International Convention Management Services, and Deborah Sexton, USA President and CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association respectively.Best Stand over 30sqm was awarded to The Perth Convention Bureau and Best New Exhibitor Stand was presented to Seoul Tourism Organisation.Best Stand under 30sqm and Best Environmental Stand was won by Decorative Events and Exhibitions.
South Korea welcomed 88,917 visitors from India by the end of July 2016, an increase of 47.9% relative to the same period of the previous year.The persistent efforts made by the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO), New Delhi office can be accredited for the positive growth. The tourism board’s effort on educating the travel trade partners to promote the destination in the best possible manner, the proactive business approach from the DMCs and connecting with the end traveller through tactical media platforms have been the key factors in the result.As the interest of the Indian traveller grows, the increase in the airline connectivity has been introduced at the right time. Asiana Airline has increased its operations from three to five times a week from Delhi and plans to operate daily in the near future. Korean Air will be launching its Delhi operations in the month of December with five times a week frequency.According to Byungsun Lee, Director, KTO, “Over 1,50,000 Indians visited South Korea last year and we have almost 90,000 within seven months. So we are confident of surpassing the last year’s numbers by the end of 2016. As we approach the festival season and the winter holiday season, we plan to widen our efforts and establish South Korea as a preferred leisure destination amongst various traveller segments including families, honeymooners and adventure lovers.”
To say Justin Bethel had a rough 2016 would be an understatement.And now, he’s paying for it.It was learned Wednesday that Bethel’s salary has been reduced from $4.5 million in 2017 to $2 million, with the 2018 season of his contract being voided.Bethel, who had signed a three-year contract extension in 2015, is in essence taking a pay cut in 2017 to be a free agent following the season.Given what transpired last season, it makes some sense that Bethel would roll the dice on posting a bounce-back 2017. He could once again be in line for a large role, with former starter Marcus Cooper signing with the Chicago Bears. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Seattle Seahawks kicker Stephen Hauschka (4) reacts to missing a game-winning field goal as punter Jon Ryan (9) looks on during overtime of an NFL football game as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) falls, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. The game ended in overtime in a 6-6 tie. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Top Stories Expected to challenge for a starting cornerback spot opposite Patrick Peterson, he was limited over the offseason by a foot injury. Then, when he was on the field, Bethel struggled to the point where head coach Bruce Arians, when asked if the player was a work in progress at cornerback, answered that it’s “a failure in progress” due to his battling injuries and lack of practice time.Bethel played fairly well over the season’s final two games, and finished with 26 total tackles, six passes defensed and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown. The special teams ace also contributed 13 total tackles there — 12 unassisted — while also forcing one fumble.The 26-year-old Bethel was a sixth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2012 out of Presbyterian, and was a Pro Bowl choice for special teams in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments Share
Basel, Switzerland — At BaselWorld, the annual gathering of top timepiece manufacturers and their global retailers, the watch models that debut today will compel connoisseurs to shop tomorrow. The introductions displayed on Sunday that show the most potential to attract a crowd are watches with remarkable new dials, limited editions that celebrate a brand’s anniversary, and luxurious cases crafted from titanium.Dial BeautyMaurice Lacroix’s collection consists of two pillars: its Masterpiece series utilizing the brand’s own manufactured movements; and the Pontos series that also incorporates mechanical movements but at more accessible prices. The most exciting addition to the Masterpiece series this year is the Chronograph Squelette, a skeletonized chronograph that will be limited to just 250 pieces. The 45-mm round watch has a somewhat industrial style, with a brushed steel case, blackened gold movement wheels and hand-finished decorative touches to the ML106 movement. The dial is see-through thanks to the use of three sapphire crystals: one for the top, one for the caseback, and one in between to serve as the dial and display the indexes. The price will be $20,000.Wyler is also creating visual interest by skeletonizing a complicated timepiece. Its new tourbillon, housed in the Code R case that is famous for its shock absorbing internal structure, gets the skeleton treatment and it reveals the otherworldly glow of its silicium and carbon bridges. The timepiece is available in black ceramic for 121,000 Swiss francs, or white gold for 127,000 Swiss francs.Bell & Ross features a skeleton of a completely different sort. Its popular BR 01 model, recognized for its 46-mm square case, is the foundation for the limited edition Airborne. The timepiece is an anthem to military paratroopers, particularly the U.S. Airborne divisions, whose motto was “Death from Above” and symbolized by a skull displayed on uniforms and fighter planes. The watch’s dial is not only shaped in the outline of a skull, but its face bears the image of one too that appears dark under its crystal in the daytime, and glows green at night. The steel case is blackened with carbon, and it comes on a rubber, leather or synthetic strap. Limited to 500 pieces, the watch will sell for 3,900 Euros.Ebel is giving the crystal and dial of its 1911 Tekton extra prominence by removing a bezel altogether. In its place, six discreet screws secure the sapphire crystal to the watch case, making its thickness visible from the sides. This sporty chronograph, housed in a 48.5-mm brushed steel case, features a football-shaped rotor visible through its case back (it was dedicated to the Real Madrid team), and it is limited to a production of 500 pieces. It comes on an alligator strap and will sell for $13,900.How is DeWitt able to improve on the remarkable dial of its complicated new timepiece? By adding a second dial of course. The Repetition Minutes Tourbillon GMT Antipode is equipped with a movement that consists of a tourbillon, a minute repeater and a GMT function that can be viewed on both sides of this timepiece. Simply swivel the case by pushing its lugs to switch your view from the tourbillon side to the GMT. The minute repeater of this titanium and white gold watch can be activated on either side, and its chime will always correspond to local time. There will be 25 watches made, and each will cost $420,000.Dior, in partnership with engineers at Quinting, developed a new movement (quartz powered for now) that sits vertically inside a case so that it can hide underneath a watch’s bezel. The reason is driven by design. By hiding the movement, Dior is able to create a watch that is completely see-through, from front to back, without a movement to be detected. In the Dior Christal Mysteriuse, a stack of sapphire crystal discs hold decorative elements (such as mother of pearl or diamonds) that rotate individually to reveal hours, minutes, seconds, or day of the month. The watch’s steel case measures 39 mm or 44 mm, and depending on the diamond treatment and other precious decorations, its price will range from $17,000 to $50,000.Sarcar is tapping the exquisite marquetry skills of artists in Geneva to produce the customized dials of its round timepieces. A tiger dial, for example, appears to be a painted likeness using dozens of different shades, but it is crafted entirely from minute slivers of various woods. The watch also holds two half-carat diamonds on its dial, and is housed in a rose gold case. It sells for $120,000.Happy AnniversaryBreitling celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2009, and marks the occasion with limited editions of its Navitimer aviation timepieces. A 2,009-piece steel edition features alternating satin-brushed and polished surfaces, a rigid Air Racer bracelet (with maximum perforations), Breitling’s Caliber 26 chronograph movement, and a 60-minute totalizer in the center of the dial. It will sell for $6,840. Additionally, 125 red gold versions will be made, and they will cost $29,340.It’s been 40 years since Jack Heuer, now honorary chairman of Tag Heuer, designed the Monaco watch, and the square timepiece remains the most recognized timepiece in the collection today. In time for the anniversary this year, Tag Heuer is relaunching the Monaco in an edition that nearly duplicates the archival original. The only differences are its crystal (now made of sapphire crystal instead of Plexiglas), and its movement. The 38-mm steel chronograph is delivered with a Steve McQueen book, and is limited to 1,000 pieces. It will sell for $7,900.Zenith introduced the first integrated automatic chronograph movement capable of measuring short periods of time with one-tenth of a second accuracy in 1969, and named it El Primero. Today the movement comes in 23 versions, and this workhorse of the Zenith collection marks its 40th birthday with a special anniversary series of watches. All of the dials in this anniversary series bear an off-center strip, which is etched with all of the historical guilloches of the Zenith collections: Grain d’Orge, Clou de Paris, Draughtboard and Grand Clou de Paris.Titanium DirectionThe extra lightweight metal titanium continues its ascent in the watch-making world this year, and debuts in even more collections. Corum’s nautical watch, Admiral’s Cup, is updated in a new 50-mm titanium case, making it the largest case in this series so far. Previously recognized for its colorful maritime flags serving as indexes around the dial, in this version, all elements are either black or white. The stark contrast makes for a bold watch, which also features a black rubber bezel, dial, pushers and strap. This watch is designed to be worn on the left arm—with chronograph pushers on the left side of the case—as the wearer’s right thumb is the strongest finger to operate the pushers. It is limited to 888 pieces in titanium and sells for $8,500. The watch will also be made in red gold and platinum.Porsche Design’s Rattrapante Indicator was an instant success when it debuted in 2004, so the company is basing its new Rattrapante Chronograph on the original’s design. The 45-mm watch’s split-second mechanism allows it to measure intermediate times. Its case, titanium coated in black PVD, complements a black bezel, pushers, strap and clasp. A bi-directional rotor is visible through the open case back. Limited to 200 pieces in titanium, it will sell for 19,230 Euros. This watch will also be manufactured in rose gold.Chronographe Suisse is issuing its first watch in titanium this year. The metal forms the brand’s classic 54-mm tonneau-shaped case, the Mangusta Supermeccanica, which houses a chronograph timepiece. The edition with two counters will sell for $13,000 and the three-counter version will cost $14,500.www.baselworld.com
State Rep. Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City, will host office hours in Ogemaw, Roscommon, and Missaukee counties on Oct. 16 at the following times and locations:Ogemaw County: 9 to 10 a.m. at the West Branch Area Chamber of Commerce, located at 422 W. Houghton Ave. in West Branch.Roscommon County: Noon to 1 p.m. at Fred’s of Roscommon, located at 422 N. Fifth St.Missaukee County: 3 to 5 p.m. at Food Factory and Pub, located at 118 S. Main St. in Lake CityNo appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those who are unable to attend are encouraged to contact Rep. Rendon’s office by phone at 517-373-3817 or by email at BruceRendon@house.mi.gov.### Categories: Rendon News 09Oct Rep. Rendon will host office hours Oct. 16
The Michigan House of Representatives today approved state Rep. Triston Cole’s legislation to prohibit the removal of collars from hunting dogs for reprehensible reasons.“Some animal rights organizations have used extreme measures to disrupt legal hunting and this bill will help protect hunting dogs and give their owners peace-of-mind during hunting season,” said Rep. Cole, R-Mancelona.House Bill 5215 would make it a civil infraction with a fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 for an individual other than the owner that removes the collar from the hunting dog.“People that are opposed to hunting, or those who just want to steal the collars, have been known to take the collars off of the dogs while they are engaged in legal hunting activities,” Rep. Cole said. “Many of these collars have electronic tracking devices and can be quite expensive.“Taking the collars off of hunting dogs puts the animal at risk and lowers the chances for the owner finding the dog if the animal was to wonder off. HB 5215 will aid in the assurance of safety for the hunting dog and owner.”HB 5215 will now move to the Senate for consideration.##### Categories: Cole News,Featured news,News Tags: #SB, Cole, dog collars, HB5215, hunting 07Jun House passes Rep. Cole’s bill prohibiting the removal of collars from hunting dogs
State Rep. Dr. John Bizon, of Battle Creek, today voted on the House floor to support a four-bill package allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed pistols without a permit.“People deserve to exercise the right to bear arms laid out in the U.S. Constitution without getting the government’s permission and purchasing a license,” Bizon said. “I’m pleased to support this common-sense legislation to eliminate the current permit mandate, which amounts to nothing more than a tax on our Second Amendment right.”The legislation does not give criminals more access to pistols, Bizon said, because it retains the current requirement that a background check be completed before a handgun purchase is made.Under the plan, the current concealed pistol license permitting structure will remain in place to allow Michigan residents an option to obtain a CPL to continue to carry and receive reciprocity in states that recognize Michigan’s permit. A CPL will also continue to allow people to carry openly in certain restricted zones.House Bills 4416-19 now move to the Senate for consideration.### 07Jun Rep. Bizon votes in favor of ‘right to carry’ legislation Categories: Bizon News
Categories: Lucido News,News 10Aug Rep. Lucido: Help Michigan families offset school ‘pay to play’ costs With the school year ready to start across Michigan, state Rep. Peter Lucido is renewing his fight to provide financial relief for families saddled with ‘pay to play’ fees for extracurricular activities.Lucido’s bill would provide an income tax credit to offset fees families pay for students to participate in sports, band or other extracurricular programs in schools.“With students headed back to school, it is a great time to act on this bill that would boost participation in sports and other extracurricular activities,” said Lucido, of Shelby Township in Macomb County. “This would be the difference-maker for families struggling to make ends meet. They otherwise could not afford the fees required for their children to play sports, join a club or perform in a marching band.”Participation fees are becoming more and more common in Michigan schools, with fees that often cost families hundreds of dollars.About half the high schools responding to a 2016-17 Michigan High School Athletic Association survey said they charge participation fees.National surveys show cost is often cited as a reason why students do not play school sports, with the participation fees most likely to sideline children from lower-income homes.“The ‘pay to play’ fees drive down participation in sports and other programs, and that is bad for kids. They deserve better,” Lucido said. “Our plan will provide a much-needed incentive for parents to put their children in an extracurricular activity so they don’t find themselves in front of a television or a computer all day. These activities are important, helping kids become well-rounded and successful for the rest of their lives.”###Lucido’s legislation is House Bill 4014.
02May Rep. Brann plan makes parole, probation fees more affordable Categories: Brann News House unanimously approves critical criminal justice reformState Rep. Tommy Brann’s plan to help former inmates get their lives back on track after they are released from prison was approved today by the Michigan House with unanimous support.Brann, a restaurant owner from Wyoming, said people on parole or probation in Michigan are currently charged exorbitant fees to pay for the cost of their supervision. Offenders who are issued a tether could be charged as much as $555 a month.“The broken system we have right now keeps people from succeeding outside of prison by creating a cycle of non-compliance, non-payment and debt that is sent to collections,” said Brann, who introduced the legislation after hearing about the personal struggles of multiple constituents. “One of our restaurant servers made a mistake and was trying to get her life together while struggling with depression. She wanted very much to be a contributor to society, but a $13 a day tether bill was holding her back. She simply could not afford it, no matter how hard she tried.”The current fees are determined based on a sliding scale, with a complicated process the Michigan Department of Corrections must complete to determine how much an offender owes at the end of the supervision period. Unpaid fees are ultimately sent to the Department of Treasury to go through the collections process, which Brann said discourages legitimate employment due to the threat of wage garnishment.House Bills 4031-32 establish a simple, flat fee structure that will be easier and more cost-effective for the MDOC to administer. Most offenders would pay $30 per month for supervision. Offenders requiring an electronic monitoring device, such as GPS, would pay $60 per month. The court will have the option to waive fees for indigent individuals.“It’s in the state’s best interest to help former inmates become self-sufficient,” Brann said. “People who can afford to support themselves are much less likely to reoffend in the future.”The MDOC estimates the current compliance rate for offenders under supervision is below 10 percent. Establishing a lower, flat supervision fee is known to increase the number of offenders who are willing and able to pay. Compliance rates in other states that have implemented this practice are as high as 60 percent.“Reducing supervision fees will result in more offenders who are willing and able to pay,” Brann said. “Most former inmates can’t afford the current fees, so they simply don’t pay. However, the majority of people will easily be able to afford $1 or $2 a day while still paying for their everyday living expenses.”The MDOC expects to see little change in the revenue collected overall.The plan now moves to the Senate for consideration.###
Share55Tweet8Share51Email114 SharesJanuary 24, 2018; New York TimesThe American Civil Liberties Union is amassing a small but impressive track record on a particular issue: reversing prison bans on Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. This month, the ACLU has overturned bans in New Jersey and North Carolina, although a Florida ban still stands.In both cases, when state ACLU affiliates learned that the book had been banned, it sent letters to the Department of Public Safety in North Carolina and the Department of Corrections in New Jersey claiming the ban violated prisoners’ First Amendment rights. In the letter to New Jersey Commissioner Gary M. Lanigan, ACLU attorneys Tess Borden and Alexander Shalom write,The DOC…must take affirmative steps to reduce our state’s shameful racial disparities. The ban on The New Jim Crow does precisely the opposite and is a step backwards instead. In its worst light, it looks like an attempt to keep impacted people uninformed about the history of the very injustice that defines their daily lives.Borden added, “New Jersey needs to eradicate its worst-in-the-nation racial disparities, not paper them over with a banned book list, hoping that people trapped in an unfair system will remain blind to its injustices.”The New Jim Crow explains how the mass incarceration of black Americans functions as a race-based program of social control, and how the modern US criminal justice system was in fact intended to do just that.According to the New York Times, “A form from the prison system’s literature review committee obtained by the New York Times indicates that the book was rejected because it presented a security threat and was filled with what the document called ‘racial overtures.’” However, Roger Werholtz, who served as secretary of corrections in Kansas and interim executive director of corrections in Colorado, says this did not make sense because, “Frankly, most prison officials talk very openly about the overrepresentation of [sic] minorities.” (Werholtz did not specify whether the officials blamed the system or the “minorities.”)Alexander’s book is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the banning of books in prisons. Texas has the most famously long list, with over 10,000 volumes banned in its prisons. Banned books include A Charlie Brown Christmas, Freakonomics, and The Color Purple, but not Mein Kampf or the writings of Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. In New York state, PEN America recently fought against Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Directive 4911A, which banned prisoners from receiving book packages from all but six approved vendors, whose offerings were limited in both number and their ability to engage and improve prisoners’ minds. After NYC Books Through Bars and other activist groups sent letters opposing the directive, it was scrapped.The banning and permitting of books in prisons seems to function in sweeps: Larry Taylor, a spokesperson for the Virginia Corrections Department, told American Prospect writer Adam Serwer that “once a publication is banned in one prison, it’s banned system-wide.” Conversely, says Serwer, when challenges are mounted, “once the cases actually make it to court, the government tends to back down.”The ACLU and many others have recognized that making reading material available to incarcerated individuals benefits them in multiple ways. In addition to providing entertainment or a moment of mental respite, reading programs are found to benefit people when they get out of prison. A 1994 study from the National Center of Education Statistics found that 7 in 10 prisoners “experience difficulty in performing tasks that require them to integrate or synthesize information from complex or lengthy texts,” and therefore “literacy programs for inmates cannot afford to be short changed.”As NPQ has reported, the ACLU is flush with cash and prepared to fight on the front lines of civil liberties. That they include both larger issues like sanctuary cities and less popular ones like the banning of books in prisons is indicative of their commitment to a thoughtful, all-encompassing approach. Including people behind bars in the fight for civil rights and recognizing their right to be educated about the systems that keep them there is a good place to start.—Erin RubinShare55Tweet8Share51Email114 Shares
ShareTweet10ShareEmail10 Shares“Supporting Micronesian students in Hawaii.”April 3, 2019; Civil BeatWe don’t hear much about US residents from the far-off Pacific Islands of Micronesia. Nearly 20,000 Micronesians have moved to Hawaii, often to access health care unavailable at home. But Micronesians, although legally eligible to live and work in the US, are not eligible for Medicaid. Arriving with few resources and sometimes very ill, they find that health care services are often out of reach. A new study from the University of Hawaii documents the struggle to access care.The status of Micronesians in the US is unique. In 1986, Micronesia became independent of the US, but to retain military access to over one million square miles of the Pacific, the US signed the Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Palau joined the compact in 1994. COFA allows Micronesians to live and work in the US, though they are ineligible for Green Cards and are not able to vote. Even more problematic, in 1996, under the welfare reform law passed during the Clinton administration, Micronesians were denied access to federally funded public supports, including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid.The choice to deny Micronesians access to free or low-cost health care is particularly cruel. Following World War II, the US tested its new nuclear arsenal at Bikini Atoll, and evidence suggests that many of the health problems of Micronesians—especially blood and thyroid cancers—have resulted from radiation exposure. In addition, contamination of the land and water drove people to abandon traditional diets, leading to high rates of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Many come to Hawaii to access dialysis, which is unavailable in Micronesia.Since 1996, Micronesians have bounced around state-funded health plans, as the state tried to limit the overall budgetary costs. With the advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the state required able-bodied Micronesian adults (about 7,600 individuals) to buy coverage through the ACA market exchange while it continued to provide a state-funded Medicaid plan for frail elders, children, and people with disabilities. The move saved the state of Hawaii about $29 million annually.For Micronesians, however, the health care marketplace has proved expensive and difficult to navigate. University of Hawaii research documents a reduction in health care utilization since Micronesians lost access to state-funded Medicaid.In Honolulu’s Civil Beat, Anita Hofschneider tells the stories of several Micronesians struggling to afford care. Lola Santy is running low on her diabetes medication but fears the cost of visiting the doctor. She isn’t sure what she’ll do after the last few pills run out. When Santy had state coverage, she would go to the emergency room if she was very ill, but she says, “When I’m sick now I cannot go to emergency [room] anymore. When I have pain, [I] just stay at my house.”The health exchange presents multiple barriers to the Micronesian community. First, the enrollment process is complex, requiring people to first apply for state-funded Medicaid and document their rejection before applying for insurance on the exchange. Second, signing up at healthcare.gov requires a fairly sophisticated level of computer literacy; third, the site has no language translation for speakers of Micronesia’s eight indigenous languages. Finally, unlike the state-funded program, which allowed enrollment at any time, healthcare.gov has a short six-week window to apply. As a result of these impediments, the Micronesian community has a 23 percent uninsured rate as compared to four percent for the state overall.Josie Howard, director of We Are Oceania, a nonprofit advocacy group for Micronesians, told Hofschneider that “parents are sometimes confused about why they have different insurance from their children, or mistakenly think that because they aren’t covered that their children aren’t either.” She explained, “People will come into our office and literally they are so sick but they haven’t been to the hospital because they’re so afraid to pay for it and they haven’t been able to pay for their bills that come in.”While many Micronesians are rationing their medicines and doctor visits, others are being buried in debt by health care services they need but can’t afford. Part-time English teacher Carlos Yangitelmal has been living in Hawaii since 2009. Last year, his wife died of cancer, leaving him saddled with $20,000 in medical bills for her care; he owes another $10,000 himself.“I hate it because I don’t want to owe those people money,” he told Hofschneider. “If I have money I’ll pay them, but I just can’t do it.”Nonetheless, Yangitelmal is planning to have heart surgery soon. After that he may return to his homeland, Chuuk, where he says he’ll rely on faith to keep him well.For patients who can’t afford to pay their bills, someone is picking up that cost. Alan Terada, former head of the Queen Emma Clinics, explained that “the switch from public to private coverage forces health care providers to fill in the gaps.” He told Civil Beat, “What happens is places like Queen’s [Honolulu’s safety-net hospital] end up eating some of the cost of the rest of that health care.”Given the US history of above-ground nuclear tests on the islands, the federal government’s refusal to take responsibility for the health of Micronesians is shameful. The legacy of US nuclear testing needs to be addressed, and providing free health care to those who have been directly impacted would be a modest first step.—Karen KahnShareTweet10ShareEmail10 Shares
MTG-backed commercial broadcaster Viasat plans to show 100 hours of 3D TV coverage of the upcoming Summer Olympics on its Norwegian pay TV channels.3D coverage will include the opening and closing ceremonies, the men’s 100 meters as well as swimming, gymnastics and other disciplines. The 3D content from the London 2012 Olympic Games will be produced by Olympic Broadcasting Services. Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, meanwhile, will broadcast high definition coverage of the games on its NRK1 and NRK2 channels.Erik Z Børresen, CEO of Viasat Norway said: “We already offer a wide range of movies and live sport in 3D, and London 2012 is the perfect showcase for the amazing live 3D TV experience.”
Four months after launching in the UK and Ireland, video streaming service Roku has added its 150th channel.The company, which develops Roku players that can be connected to TVs, delivers video, music and games via the internet. Video channels include Netflix, iPlayer and Crackle.“We’ve added almost a channel a day since we launched, and there’s much more to come,” Clive Hudson, vice-president, Roku Europe said.
ProSiebenSat.1 has confirmed its full-year outlook following strong third-quarter net income growth, boosted by growth in digital revenues of 50% to €85.9 million.The broadcast group more than doubled its underlying net income to €65.1 million. ProSiebenSat.1 posted total revenues of €636.9 million, up 7.1%. Recurring EBITDA grew by 2.3% to €167.3 million.The German broadcast segment underperformed compared with a strong 2011 third quarter, impacted to some extent by the Olympic Games, which were shown exclusively on public broadcast channels, but nevertheless turned in revenue growth of 5%. The Nordic market channels performed strongly, with significant advertising growth. Online advertising was up significantly.Due to start-up costs for newly acquired production companies, recurring EBITDA in ProSiebenSat.1’s content production and global sales segment decreased by €2.7 million year-on-year to minus €1.4 million. In August production arm Red Arrow Entertainment acquired US production company Left/Right, its fourth major acquisition in the English-speaking world this year and its largest to date.Thomas Ebeling, CEO of ProSiebenSat.1 Group said: “In the last few years, we have consistently invested in new growth markets. This is paying off today. With a revenue increase of nearly 50%, our Digital & Adjacent activities were the strongest growth driver in the third quarter of 2012 as well. We are developing ProSiebenSat.1 from a traditional TV provider to a digital entertainment powerhouse – and are thus setting the course for a long-term, successful development of the Group.”
Just 7% of US TV households rely solely on an antenna for their television programming, according to a new report by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The study found that 83% of TV households receive their programming through traditional pay-TV services – cable, satellite or fiber to the home. However, this marks a drop of five percentage points since 2010.The CEA said that the use of non-TV consumer electronics devices, such as laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones, in the home to consume content is “likely affecting pay-TV subscriptions.”The report said 28% of US TV households now receive programming on their TVs via the web, with 4% using the internet exclusively as their source of television programming for their TVs.“The vast majority of Americans no longer rely on over-the-air TV signals. Consumers have moved away in droves from traditional broadcast television thanks to a surge in programming alternatives available through wired and wireless broadband connections,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA.“This is why Congress had it right when they authorised the FCC to hold voluntary broadcast spectrum incentive auctions to reallocate broadcast television spectrum to greater uses, like wireless broadband.”
Polish broadcaster TVN has chosen Brightcove’s Video Cloud online video platform to manage and distribute its advertising-supported news and entertainment video content across desktops and mobile devices.TVN will use Video Cloud to manage and deliver a range of short-form content. The broadcaster also has the ability to create content that is accessible across HTML and Flash-based devices, according to Brightcove, meaning that theTVN viewing experience is reliable and consistent across all devices.TVN will also use Video Cloud for the re-launch of its X-Link business-to-business portal for the syndication of short-form video content.“We are committed to providing our audience with the highest-quality video experiences possible on the device of their choice. Brightcove’s solutions for delivering premium video content across multiple platforms with support for advertising and social sharing will strongly support the success of our video initiatives in the future,” said Maciej Maciejowski, member of the management board in charge of new business development for TVN.
Les MoonvesCBS Corp. is close to agreeing a programming deal that would see shows such as CSI and NCIS streaming on an Apple-operated paid-for live video platform.“Apple is having conversations with everyone about doing their own streaming services,” CBS Corp. CEO and president Les Moonves said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.“We have had those conversations, as have the other networks. Do I think something will happen? Probably, but I do not know when.”Consumer electronics giant Apple had planned to launch a live online TV service this year, but has pushed plans back after struggling to agree terms with distributors. The Hollywood studios and their broadcast counterparts are thought to be those playing the hardest ball.CBS, The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox and others have been happy to position themselves as content suppliers to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, though market watchers still question whether linear programmers can exist alongside on-demand platforms in the future.Apple, meanwhile, has long been expected to launch a video service that would complement its Apple TV set-top boxes. Industry sources reacted positively to news of the firm’s talks with CBS.“Apple’s commitment to becoming an experience syndication partner is savvy,” said Keith Zubchevich, chief strategy officer of data analytics specialist Conviva. “The entry of Netflix and Facebook into these kinds of discussions shows how quickly the game is changing, and that we are on the verge of a fundamental change in the way consumers access premium video content.“As Apple continues plans to provide a gateway to premium content without taking on the burden of delivery itself, those partners will gain from new distribution opportunities, but will need to place significant emphasis on managing the quality of the experience delivered. Audiences flock to high quality experiences, rejecting other options that disappoint: Apple and its partners will need to deliver experience excellence to realise their goals.”
Location-based virtual reality venture, Dreamscape Immersive, is due to launch in September after closing a Series A funding round from major film studio backers.VC firm Bold Capital Partners led the round with investments from Warner Bros., 21st Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, IMAX Corporation, Westfield Corporation, and director Steven Spielberg.Dreamscape said it aims to “untether” its audience from the computer and allow them to “walk freely with friends within a virtual world, where they see themselves, interact with objects and each other, and experience worlds previously accessible only in their imaginations.”The former studio head at DreamWorks Pictures, Walter Parkes, and live entertainment producer and entrepreneur Kevin Wall are behind the company, which uses technology related to medical imaging and body mechanics developed by Swiss researchers Caecilia Charbonnier and Sylvain Chagué of the Artanim Foundation.“Today, audiences can see movies in theatres in three formats: 2D, 3D, and IMAX. Dreamscape establishes the Fourth Platform – VR,” said Wall.“Now, audiences will have the ability to purchase a ticket, step inside of the story and experience it personally in a way never before imagined.”Parkes added: “We’ve assembled a team with years of proven success in the creation and distribution of global entertainment; our goal is to move VR into the mainstream.”
Sony’s 2017 line of 4K HDR TVs with Android TV can now be controlled with Amazon Echo devices, thanks to recent firmware updates.Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa can now perform basic TV functions like controlling the TV power; turning up the volume; making content play, pause and fast-forward; switching inputs; and changing channels.“Voice control is a natural way to interact with technology in one’s home, and now with Amazon Echo, Echo Show, and Echo Dot owners of 2017 Sony 4K HDR televisions with Android TV can just ask ‘Alexa, turn on my living room TV’ or ‘Alexa, set the volume to 60 on my Kitchen TV’,” said Sony in a statement.The news comes as Amazon said that it had introduced new entertainment capabilities as part of the Smart Home Skill API.This means that users can more easily control cloud-connected TVs, AV Receivers and connected speakers by saying commands like “Alexa, turn on the TV,” “Alexa, fast forward” or “Alexa, make it louder.”The entertainment controls can be used on compatible devices by Sony, Logitech Harmony and BroadLink, with support from Denon, Crestron, LG and Pulse-Eight coming soon.“Customers are increasingly using voice interfaces as a hands-free way to manage their lives,” said Amazon Alexa evangelist, Jeff Blankenburg. “By using Alexa’s built-in entertainment device controls, you will make it easier for your customers to engage with your device using voice.”