JQ staff strike baggage fees

first_imgAs part of the carrier’s staffs first ever industrial action, check-in staff in major airports will waive excess baggage fees this Friday.The ‘No Weight Day’ commencing at 3.30am Friday 14 October and ending 3.30am Saturday 15 October was organised by the Australian Services Union (ASU) and will see customers able to pack freely when travelling with the carrier through Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Cairns, Brisbane and Gold Coast airports.According to the Group’s assistant national secretary Linda White, strikes are a final option at reaching a new workplace agreement.”They are not interested in listening to workers’ reasonable requests for a fair pay rise,” Ms White explained “Rather, they are looking to push wages and conditions in the industry to new depths.“ Our members just want Jetstar to value their work.”The union said Jetstar currently charges a flat $80 for passengers with baggage that exceeds the weight limit on their fare.‘No Weight Day’ is expected to cost the carrier up to $50,000 which Ms White said could have management “start seriously negotiating with their workers”.”We are happy to say that this will have no negative impact on passengers, in fact it will be a bonus.”This is the most recent in a continuously growing line of strikes the Qantas Group has faced over the past two months.The carrier has had issues with its engineer and transport unions, with the Group’s requesting pay rises that could slump Qantas’ competitive edge, according to group executive Olivia Wirth.The carrier announced today it was forced to cancel two international flights and 14 domestic as well as delay 35 others as Transport Workers Union members walk off the job tomorrow. Hoping to minimise disruptions, Qantas said it would utilise larger aircraft to accommodate passengers and deploy management staff in operational roles. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Newcastle Airport accepts expansion grant

first_imgResearch revealed locals wanted greater aviation services. Source = ETB News: P.T. The expansion will assist the airport in providing these future growth services. Earlier this year, the Hunter Infrastructure Investment Fund helped to revitalise Newcastle’s CBD by replacing a heavy rail link from Wickham to Newcastle with a proposal for light rail operations. Research conducted by Newcastle Airport revealed locals wanted the ability to fly more frequently and to more destinations, some of them international.center_img “Receiving this funding is a real game changer; the expansion will provide the space for us to grow our domestic services and give us the capability to move into the short-haul international market,” Newcastle Airport chief executive Paul Hughes said. The NSW Government committed the capital as part of the Hunter Infrastructure Investment Fund. Newcastle Airport has received an AU$11 million grant to expand the region’s airport terminal.last_img read more

Justin Timberlake postpones Vancouver concerts due

first_imgJustin Timberlake postpones Vancouver concerts due to bruised vocal chords by The Canadian Press Posted Nov 6, 2018 4:08 pm PDT Last Updated Nov 6, 2018 at 4:40 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email VANCOUVER – Pop superstar Justin Timberlake is postponing two concerts in Vancouver due to bruised vocal chords.Promoter Live Nation says on Twitter the concerts will no longer take place on Thursday and Friday.The promoter says instead Timberlake will bring his “Man of the Woods” tour to Rogers Arena on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15.Timberlake also recently postponed concerts in Edmonton for the same reason.Rather than performing Sunday and Monday, Timberlake is now set to play on Feb. 6 and 7.He also had to delay concerts in New York last month, saying his vocal chords are “severely bruised.”last_img read more

Halliburton vote of confidence in Cyprus updated

first_imgBy Stefanos EvripidouOILFIELD services giant Halliburton on Friday concluded a deal with the government to use Cyprus as their base of operations for the eastern Mediterranean, providing a much-needed “vote of confidence” for the prospects of the Cypriot economy.The Cyprus Mail reported last week that two of the world’s largest oilfield services companies- Halliburton and Schlumberger- were about to sign relevant agreements with the government this month to set up shop in Cyprus.Halliburton’s Senior Vice President for Europe and Africa Mark Richard met on Friday night with President Nicos Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace to close the deal.Once the meeting ended, Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis wasted no time spreading the news on Twitter, welcoming Halliburton to Cyprus in a tweet. He wished them the best in servicing hydrocarbons exploration in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and thanked them for their confidence in Cyprus’ potential.Speaking after the meeting, Richard said: “It is a pleasure to be here in Cyprus for the start of our operations to support our customers and the country of Cyprus in the ongoing efforts to hopefully produce oil and gas here in the Mediterranean.”The Halliburton official thanked the government “for the tremendous support and hospitality in helping us to get started here in the country”, adding, “Hopefully, this is the start of many, many good years to come”.Richard said the multinational will base its operations in Larnaca. Halliburton currently operates in more than 80 countries.Asked how many people will be employed in Cyprus by the company, Richard said: “That depends on how much work we actually win from competitive tenders with our customers, but it will be considerable at one point in time.”Halliburton is expected to announce shortly its plans for collaboration with Cyprus-based companies and universities, as part of its operational plans for the region.The giant’s operations are due to start in Larnaca before summer’s end.Lakkotrypis, also present last night, beamed at having the “great pleasure” to receive “such an important company” that will be active in providing support services for hydrocarbon explorations within Cyprus’ EEZ.“The presence of such a company constitutes a vote of confidence for Cyprus and the prospects of the Cypriot economy,something which we very much need,” said the minister.Talks with the company began many months ago with the involvement of the president himself, he said. They reached a “happy conclusion” last night, opening the way forward for the company’s establishment in Cyprus, a move which will help achieve economic growth in the short-term, said Lakkotrypis.The minister said he hoped to have something similar to announce soon, a likely reference to the pending agreement with Schlumberger, expected to be sealed before the end of the May.Schlumberger, arguably the world’s largest oilfield services company, has its principal offices located in Houston, Paris, and The Hague. In the industry, they are known as sub-surface specialists, and develop a lot of the software used to analyse seismic data.Last week, former executive chairman of the Cyprus National Hydrocarbons Company, Charles Ellinas, confirmed to the Mail that the two multinationals were about to set up shop here.He said Halliburton in particular have been looking to rent land for their base of operations in the Aradippou/Larnaca area, close to the Larnaca harbour and the airport.Halliburton provides drilling services and gear for companies prospecting for hydrocarbons.Their base in Cyprus will cover the entire eastern Mediterranean, which is expected to become a hotbed of exploration activity in the years to come.According to Ellinas, Halliburton estimates around 50 to 60 new wells will be drilled in the eastern Mediterranean (Israel, Cyprus and Lebanon) in the next few years, possibly racking up $5bn to $7bn in drilling costs. Halliburton will be keen to get a significant slice of that pie, and Cyprus’ political stability makes it a sensible place from which to base its pie-chasing operations.Halliburton’s activities here would likely consist of storing their drilling gear and opening up offices.Ellinas noted that once the company secured contracts for its services, local companies would have an opportunity to provide support services like storage space, servicing of equipment, providing supplies etc.Considering Halliburton’s modus operandi elsewhere, the US-based company is expected to set up a management team but then hire and train locals to do the work.Speaking yesterday at an oil and gas conference in Nicosia, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades on Friday highlighted the huge importance of hydrocarbons to Cyprus’ economic prospects, warning however that: “The discovery of hydrocarbons does not mean we have won the lottery – like some people in Cyprus are saying.”The energy sector is promising but also a challenge, which requires careful handling and a well-prepared strategy, he said.“We are not and should not be basing our financial recovery on natural gas prospects alone. It should be based on facts and not on political rhetoric.”Georgiades noted that the finance ministry would submit a legal bill before the end of the year to set up a national fund to handle hydrocarbons revenues in a transparent manner for both current and future generations.Peace, stability and regional cooperation as a result of hydrocarbons could also see a solution to the Cyprus problem, said the minister, noting it was an opportunity to see the normalisation of relations with neighbours – especially Turkey.Also addressing the conference, DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos warned that without a Cyprus problem solution, the government needs to stick to plans to build a liquefaction plant to export gas from the eastern Mediterranean basin to Europe and Asia.“It should be clear that, with the solution of the Cyprus problem pending and before the necessary confidence towards Turkey is built, Cyprus cannot consider any ideas for exporting its natural gas via pipelines to Turkey,” said Papadopoulos.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoYahoo SearchBack Pain Treatments That Might Surprise You. Search For Back Pain TreatmentsYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Bumstead bill remedies local stagnant acquisition challenges

first_img State Rep. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, applauded today’s passage of House Bill 5398, which aims to help local governments consolidate small foreclosed properties by facilitating acquisitions of surrounding land for resale and potential development.LANSING, Mich. — State Rep. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, worked with Newaygo County Treasurer Holly Moon to see this legislation through completion. Moon brought Newaygo and Lake counties’ foreclosure acquisition issues to Bumstead’s office in Lansing, helped guide the legislative process with her firsthand experience and testified before the House Committee on Local Government.“My legislation will help local governments utilize small parcels of land that were once unsalable,” Bumstead said. “This issue is specifically a problem for Newaygo and Lake counties, but may certainly be applicable in other rural areas of Michigan.”Many of the district’s small parcels are owned by a numerous public and private parties and are abandoned or indefinitely entwined in the tax foreclosure process. Newaygo County Treasurer Holly Moon worked the Legislature to help remedy the situation in the district, because Bumstead said the land could be used more resourcefully if properly managed.“I certainly hope every bit of Pure Michigan can be enjoyed and utilized in some way, and this bill could certainly help put available land to good use,” Bumstead said.HB 5398 allows a county’s foreclosure unit to acquire property owned by state, federal and other governmental entities to encourage sales of tax reverted property. The bill passed 104-5 with one abstained vote, and will go to the Senate for further consideration.### 09Sep Bumstead bill remedies local, stagnant acquisition challenges Categories: Newslast_img read more

Rep Runestad continues push for income tax relief in Michigan

first_img24Feb Rep. Runestad continues push for income tax relief in Michigan Categories: Runestad News State Rep. Jim Runestad of White Lake today said he continues to support income tax relief as a common-sense reform that is long overdue for Michigan workers.In 2007, the income tax rate was temporarily increased due to a downturn in the economy with the explicit promise that a rate reduction would take place when the economy recovered. That promise was never kept.This week, the House considered but did not approve a plan to keep that promise and roll back the income tax rate from the current 4.25 percent to 3.9 percent by 2021. This bill also would have prevented full implementation of the cut if budgetary expectations were not met.“This was a common-sense approach to keep our overdue promise to taxpayers and build in protections against a potential revenue shortfall,” Runestad said. “It would force controlled government spending without harming schools, roads, or essential services.“Michigan cannot continue to increase spending year after year,” Runestad continued. “This plan puts the pressure where we need it — on the government’s pocketbook, to make state government responsible and prioritize spending on essential services.“I supported the tax cuts and I am disappointed in the outcome of this week’s vote. We must keep the promise to Michigan families, and we can do this without any harm to our schools and core obligations.”.######last_img read more

Rep Brann invites residents to office hours

first_img Categories: Brann News 23Mar Rep. Brann invites residents to office hours State Rep. Tommy Brann of Wyoming invites the people of Byron Township and the City of Wyoming to attend his local office hours on Monday, April 3. Office hours provide an opportunity for people to meet with their representative in an informal setting.“I want to hear from people on what issues they agree or disagree with and what they would like to see me focus on in Lansing,” said Brann. “I’m excited to meet with residents and hear their thoughts and concerns about state issues.”The first-term legislator will be available at the following locations on April 3:10 to 11:30 a.m. at Byron Family Restaurant, 2527 84th St. SW in Byron Center;4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille, 4157 Division Ave. S. in Grand Rapids.No appointments are necessary for office hours. If you are unable to attend, but would like to voice a question or concern to the representative, contact his office at (517) 373-2277 or TommyBrann@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

Wentworth invites resident to testify before Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

first_img06Jun Wentworth invites resident to testify before Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Categories: Wentworth News PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Jason Wentworth, chair of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, welcomes Mark Wilson, Public Works Director for the City of Evart, to testify on the significance of World War I in his community. The committee approved Senate Bill 248, which creates the WWI Centennial Commission today. The commission will help coordinate WWI Centennial events statewide.PHOTO INFORMATION: Mark Wilson, Public Works Director for the City of Evart, testifies before the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee about the significance of WWI in his community. Wilson highlighted Private Joseph Guyton, an Evart native who was the first American soldier killed on German soil on May 24, 1918.last_img read more

House mental health task force to meet in Grand Rapids

first_img02Aug House mental health task force to meet in Grand Rapids Categories: Vaupel News             The Michigan House mental health task force will hold its next meeting on Thursday, Aug. 17 at Hope Network in Grand Rapids, announced state Reps. Klint Kesto and Hank Vaupel, the task force co-chairs.            The bipartisan House C.A.R.E.S. task force is comprised of seven Republicans and seven Democrats seeking to explore ways to enable Michigan residents facing mental health challenges to live happier, healthier and independent lives. This comprehensive approach seeks to address the hurdles people face each day, including veterans with post-traumatic stress injury, victims whose lives are altered by traumatic crimes or prisoners who struggle with underlying mental health disorders.            Information gathered will help legislators develop reforms that result in more consistency in mental health services statewide, better support for veterans, attention to substance abuse, enhanced training for law enforcement and more.Hope Network offers a variety of services for those suffering from mental illnesses. Since 1960, Hope Network has helped more than 26,000 people overcome their disabilities through their programs.            “What the Hope Network has done for over 20,000 people is incredible,” said Rep. Vaupel, of Fowlerville. “There are top-tier mental health outreach organizations in Grand Rapids and I look forward to learning from them in order to develop better mental health services statewide.”            State Rep. Kesto, of Commerce Township said: “Grand Rapids is becoming a national leader in mental health services. We made sure Grand Rapids was one of our visits. After hearing about the services Hope Network provides, we are truly excited to be able to learn from them to make Michigan’s mental health services better than ever before.”            The public is invited to attend the meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m. at Hope Network, located at 775 36th St. SE in Grand Rapids. The public can submit written suggestions regarding mental health care in Michigan at www.house.mi.gov/CARES.###last_img read more

Rep LaFave cosponsors legislation requiring balanced budget by July 1

first_img13Oct Rep. LaFave co-sponsors legislation requiring balanced budget by July 1 Legislators would forfeit pay after missed deadlineState Rep. Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain co-sponsored legislation introduced Wednesday to require the Michigan Legislature to present a balanced budget to the governor by July 1 each year.The joint resolution proposes amending the Michigan Constitution to establish the July 1 deadline and ensure legislators adhere to it. Should the Legislature fail to complete the budget in time, representatives and senators would forfeit their daily salaries until the governor receives the budget.“While the state’s fiscal year doesn’t start until Oct. 1, many Upper Peninsula schools and communities begin their fiscal years in July,” LaFave said. “The state budget needs to be in place by July 1 to give local leaders a better idea of how much state funding they can count on. If we can’t do that, we don’t deserve to get paid.”If House Joint Resolution X is approved by two-thirds of both the House and Senate, the measure would be placed on the ballot for voter consideration.It was referred to the House Appropriations Committee.### Categories: LaFave Newslast_img read more

Local residents can meet with Rep Webber on Feb 16

first_img Categories: Webber News 09Feb Local residents can meet with Rep. Webber on Feb. 16 State Rep. Michael Webber will host his monthly office hours on Friday, Feb. 16 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Panera Bread, 2921 S. Rochester Road in Rochester Hills.“Residents of the greater Rochester area are always welcome to join me at my local office hours,” Rep. Webber said. “I look forward to hearing about what issues are important to the people in my district.”No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Webber at 517-373-1773 or via email at MichaelWebber@house.mi.gov.last_img

Rep Tedder honors robotics world champions

first_img State Rep. Jim Tedder recognized Clarkston High School’s Team RUSH 27 as winners of the 2018 FIRST Championship Global Robotics Competition on Tuesday. Rep. Tedder honored members of Team RUSH with a tribute and a special introduction at the Michigan House of Representatives.“These incredible students and innovators have achieved the unimaginable,” Rep. Tedder said. “Team RUSH’s collective intelligence, creativity and raw talent has successfully set them apart on a global stage. As a former teacher, I admire their outstanding work ethic and inspired approach to learning new things.”The 2018 FIRST Robotics World Championship was held in April at Detroit’s Cobo Hall. Over 15,000 students from 40 countries represented 700 teams at the world competition. Team RUSH was honored amongst three other winners, including Kalamazoo’s Stryke Force FIRST Robotics team.FIRST is an international educational organization focusing on the development and implementation of science and technology in schools. Since 2014, Michigan has invested over $12 million to FIRST programs.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Jim Tedder presents a tribute to Clarkston High School’s Team RUSH 27 for winning the 2018 FIRST Championship Robotics Competition. Categories: Tedder News 13Jun Rep. Tedder honors robotics world championslast_img read more

Chippewa County sheriff joins Rep Chatfield for Sept 11 ceremony

first_img Categories: Chatfield News,News State Rep. Lee Chatfield, of Levering, is joined today by Chippewa County Sheriff Mike Bitnar, for the House of Representatives’ annual Sept. 11 ceremony. The observance memorializes Michigan first responders and members of the military who died in the line of duty during the past year. 06Sep Chippewa County sheriff joins Rep. Chatfield for Sept. 11 ceremonylast_img

Rep Howell plan would end Legislatures lame duck sessions

first_img Categories: Howell News 29Jan Rep. Howell plan would end Legislature’s ‘lame duck’ sessions State Rep. Gary Howell has proposed a constitutional amendment to eliminate legislative sessions from extending past Election Day, eliminating the period in November and December commonly known as “lame duck.”“All too often, controversial bills are pushed through to passage during the November and December sessions without adequate public hearings or input from the people affected by the proposed laws,” said Howell, of North Branch. “When the ink is still wet, the paper is too hot from being run off, and lawmakers complain that they haven’t read the bill they are about to vote on, you know that the process is totally dysfunctional.”Howell had introduced the same House Joint Resolution in 2017, but was never given a hearing.“There is no way that legislation can be properly vetted during a lame duck session,” Howell said, “especially when we are up more than half the night. Depriving lawmakers of sleep is a totally inappropriate way to round up votes for a bill. As my mother always said, nothing good happens after midnight.”Howell went on to say “Last November and December, the House took more than 400 votes. When that takes place, it is hard for legislators – not to mention the public – to be well-informed on the issues.”Howell’s solution proposes a constitutional amendment requiring the Legislature to adjourn on the Friday before the November election during even-numbered years.“This is also an issue of accountability,” Howell said. “All legislators should be accountable to the people who elect them. That is often not the case during lame duck. Term-limited lawmakers vote on issues for which they never have to answer to the voters. Quite frankly, if a bill isn’t good enough to pass before an election, it’s probably not a good idea to shove it through after an election.”House Joint Resolution C has been referred to the House Government Operations Committee for consideration.If the plan were approved by two-thirds of both the House and Senate, it would be placed on the statewide general election ballot for voter consideration.###last_img read more

Rep Howell votes to make state government more accountable

first_img Categories: Howell News 21Mar Rep. Howell votes to make state government more accountable State Rep. Gary Howell this week voted to approve a bipartisan package of bills to make state government more accountable to the people of Michigan. Howell, of North Branch, is a co-sponsor of each of these bills.Michigan is one of just two states that exempts its governor and the Legislature from open records laws. The bipartisan solution approved this week would end these exemptions and increase transparency in state government.“We will foster public trust by expanding open records laws to the legislative and executive branches,” Howell said. “People deserve full transparency from all of their elected officials. It’s the only way the public can hold their government accountable.”The proposal will subject the governor and lieutenant governor to the Freedom of Information Act and hold state representatives and senators to the same high standard by creating the Legislative Open Records Act.In order to protect citizen privacy, there are exemptions for constituent inquiries to ensure that personal information is protected. Other types of communications – including those lawmakers have with state departments and lobbyists – would not be exempt.House Bills 4007-13 and 4015-16 now advance to the Senate for consideration.###last_img read more

Nonprofit Workers Sue for Student Loan Forgiveness

first_imgShare94TweetShare42Email136 Shares“Bus Under Message” by Joe BruskyApril 1, 2017; New York Times and ForbesFour former students have brought suit in federal court against the U.S. Department of Education seeking to reinstate their eligibility under the federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program. The former students claim that FedLoan Servicing, which administers the program for the Education Department, issued approval letters that were then rescinded with little or no opportunity to appeal the decision. The Education Department said in a court filing that borrowers should not necessarily rely on the approval letters they receive from FedLoan because they are not binding and may be rescinded at any time.The program, started in 2007, offered forgiveness for student loan obligations to students with government (not private) student loans who work in public service for 10 years and maintain their student loan payments during that time. About 550,000 students have signed up for the program, which offers forgiveness for borrowers who choose to work for government agencies, public schools, public hospitals, and 501(c)(3) and some other nonprofit organizations. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that 25 percent of the U.S. workforce is employed in public service and could be eligible to participate in “some form of student loan forgiveness, including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.”Lawsuit plaintiff Jamie Rudert applied for and received confirmation in 2012 that his work as an attorney for the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) qualified him for the program. However, when he sent in the routine annual recertification in 2016, he was told by FedLoan that not only was it denied, but that none of his previous work for the nonprofit would be recognized as qualifying. FedLoan told him that his initial application was approved in error, but there was no explanation of what the error may have been or how it may have occurred.A review of VVA’s GuideStar page and Form 990 shows that VVA isn’t a 501(c)(3) public charity, but a 501(c)(19) veterans organization. Technically, employment by a nonprofit that isn’t a 501(c)(3) may still fit under the program if the organization provides “qualifying public services,” such as law enforcement, emergency management, and public service for the elderly or individuals with disabilities.The timing of the lawsuit is especially important because, though the program was instituted in 2007, decisions on the first student loans to actually be forgiven won’t happen until October. In fact, the paperwork design hasn’t been completed for the forms a borrower would use to actually apply for loan forgiveness at the end of his or her 10-year period in the program.Anyone currently employed or seeking employment in organizations that would qualify for the loan forgiveness program is encouraged to confirm that eligibility. While the circumstances of the four plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit are unique (e.g., is the VVA as a 501(c)(19) providing qualifying public services as defined in the loan forgiveness program?), it’s important for all borrowers to be aware of the qualifications and, if necessary, change their employment to maintain their program eligibility. Nonprofit organizations, whether 501(c)(3) organizations or those recognized under different IRS code provisions, would be well advised to confirm that they qualify as eligible employers under the program and keep their employees updated.—Michael WylandShare94TweetShare42Email136 Shareslast_img read more

Fighting the Dominant Narrative May Take Guerrilla Tactics The Case of NoDAPL

first_imgShare18Tweet19Share4Email41 SharesBy Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota (Bakken / Dakota Access Oil Pipeline) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsAugust 22, 2017; Washington PostFor months, NPQ has followed the #NoDAPL movement. There are plenty of open issues between Native tribes and the corridors of North American power, but Standing Rock was the largest gathering of Native Americans in over 100 years. Their demand for a voice in a socioeconomic decision inspired other tribes and aided enormously in building awareness of Native issues. Native voices were joined and amplified by the involvement of nonprofit allies like Greenpeace, an organization with a history of using unusually stunt-like tactics to fight environmental damage.Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has no intention of fighting an empowered and organized resistance every time it installs a pipeline, and has already taken steps to discredit the #NoDAPL movement and its allies. On August 22nd, ETP filed a lawsuit against “Greenpeace Intl.; Greenpeace, Inc.; Greenpeace Fund, Inc.; Earth First!; and John and Jane Does 1-20.” The lawsuit claims:This case involves a network of putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims and other purported misconduct, inflicting billions of dollars in damage. The network’s pattern of criminal and other misconduct includes (i) defrauding charitable donors and cheating federal and state tax authorities with claims that they are legitimate tax-free charitable organizations; (ii) cyberattacks; (ii) intentional and malicious interference with their targeted victim’s relationships; and (iv) physical violence, threats of violence and the purposeful destruction of private and federal property.Linda Black Elk, a teacher of ethnobotany at a tribal community college who has lived at Standing Rock for most of her life and was a prominent figure in the protests, had this to say in response:Their suit makes these amazing environmental organizations look like slick, white, profiteers, who have worked us poor, ignorant, Indians into a frenzy over “groundless claims” concerning harm to the environment and sacred sites…They are saying that we, as this nation’s original people, don’t have the intelligence or self determination to care about our lands, water, plants, wildlife, or sacred sites…This is all part of a larger strategy on behalf of Energy Transfer to completely discredit Native peoples in general and delegitimize water protectors specifically. It could also intimidate these big green groups from partnering with grass roots people in environmental campaigns.The lawsuit seeks to blur the lines between Greenpeace’s type of direct advocacy tactics and the violent confrontation associated with riots or dangerous, unpredictable actors. Greenpeace uses “sensational, nonviolent confrontations to expose governments and corporations that abuse environmental laws.” Tactics like those used at Standing Rock—physically standing in the way of projects, raising an outcry against companies they see as inflicting environmental damage, and trespassing the boundaries of the law for their cause—are strategic risks that the organization chooses to take. Greenpeace does not seek to harm, but rather to influence the behavior of corporations that have greater financial and political capital and little reason to engage with them.Greenpeace’s risk profile makes them a public player in conversations where they wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to participate. They create a polarizing public image, but their tactics have the advantage of building credibility with their base, something David Renz has advised nonprofits to consider when assessing risk. Their refusal to affiliate with or accept donations from any governmental organization or private enterprise is certainly a financial risk (and indeed, their assets are limited), but it gives them the freedom to insist on divestment where the environment is at stake and maintain their credibility. They’ve certainly made mistakes in the past, but they are committed to spreading their message by the most public means available.The statute being used by ETP, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, is normally used to prosecute crime syndicates. The use of this act, and the inflammatory language in the lawsuit, are conduits for a message: Greenpeace and its Native allies with #NoDAPL are not legitimate actors, and do not deserve equal voice at the table. The use of the word “terrorist” is especially provocative, implying as it does an actor who has no legitimate goals except the inspiration of fear—a deliberate misclassification and delegitimization of Greenpeace’s direct advocacy tactics.NPQ wrote in August of the obligations nonprofits have to “offer a counternarrative“ to notions of racial superiority, and explained the history of democracy as a “fight for the public square—who speaks and who doesn’t, whose issues matter and whose are marginalized, who can congregate and who is intimidated.” Cyndi Suarez wrote that “Nonprofits are, in essence, stewards of the public square.” If this is so, we must also consider the terms of access to it. It matters when activist groups are described as “ecoterrorists,” or when large companies like ETP use the enormous platform their financial and political capital gives them to discredit their opponents. Famed linguist John Gumperz noted that “Control of communicative resources varies sharply with the individual’s position within the social system.” Controlling the public conversation and the way in which advocacy groups are seen by the public means controlling the amount of social and political capital those groups have, and therefore their ability to participate legitimately in future debates. This lawsuit seeks to define who can speak, and how.ETP’s lawsuit is damaging in many ways. For one thing, the “hundreds of millions of dollars” claimed in damages is many times larger than Greenpeace, Inc.’s total assets, which are less than $4 million. The lawsuit includes allegations that claims of environmental hazard made by Greenpeace and other #NoDAPL protestors are fallacious, implying that disputes elsewhere relying on similar claims could be in danger. But the effort to discredit legitimate advocacy groups like Greenpeace has problematic implications for other ongoing struggles that involve a power imbalance, such as civil rights issues and environmental activism. Insofar as nonprofits are part of the public conversation and influencers of its terms, they must speak in a way that recognizes legitimate actors in civic space.—Erin RubinShare18Tweet19Share4Email41 Shareslast_img read more

Algorithms and Art Is San Diego Asking the Right Questions about Public

first_imgShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares“Krishna and the cowherds enter Agasura’s mouth,” The San Diego Museum of Art Collection.October 4, 2018; Voice of San DiegoThe Commission for Arts and Culture in San Diego has been using the same funding algorithm since 1994 to calculate the value of grants awarded to arts organizations. So it seems perfectly reasonable for commissioners and grantees alike to suggest it may be time to revisit that formula and make some changes—like caps on how large any grant might be and attention to impact. However, as reported by Voice of San Diego (VOSD), a digital nonprofit news organization focused on local investigative reporting, the Commission itself may be more broken than its funding algorithm.The Commission is funded by a hotel occupancy tax—which in a popular tourist and convention city like San Diego means a steady, generous source of municipal revenue for cultural organizations, one that many larger cities can only fantasize about. With an impressive $14.5 million in public funds awarded to arts and culture nonprofits and projects in fiscal year 2019, the Commission owes it to taxpayers to ensure grants are being awarded in a transparent way and with clear intentions. According to the website for the Commission:The City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture serves in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and City Council on promoting, encouraging and increasing support for the region’s artistic and cultural assets, integrating arts and culture into community life and showcasing San Diego as an international tourist destination.Two funding tracks are clearly described:Creative Communities San Diego for “community-based festivals, parades and celebrations with an emphasis on projects that promote neighborhood pride and community reinvestment, and on sponsoring projects that make arts and culture activities more accessible in all San Diego neighborhoods and encourage people of diverse backgrounds to share their heritage and culture.”Organization Support Program for “general operating support with an emphasis on the delivery of programs and services that impact San Diego’s quality of life and tourism.”But here’s where things get muddy: At the moment, six of eight staff positions at the Commission are vacant, and one of the two current staff members is an acting executive director, while the search for a permanent leader continues. Nevertheless, this month the volunteer arts commissioners are set to kick off a series of meetings to review the current funding model. The website says the group consists of 15 commissioners, but only 13 are listed, and of those 13, only four appear to have deep experience in the arts sector. While it is not unusual to have an advisory body representing the community and providing stewardship when public funds are being spent, the composition of this group—combined with what appears to be a significant staffing issue—suggests the funding model itself should not top the list of concerns.With a short bench in terms of in-depth knowledge of the city’s arts sector and best practices in municipal arts funding, San Diego leaders perhaps ought to be asking what’s wrong with the way the Commission is structured and staffed, and what might be done to address that first.One of the commissioners, Vernon Franck, described by VOSD as “a land surveyor and longtime arts advocate,” thinks the city needs a “cultural master plan,” but does not seem to understand what that means. He is quoted as saying:The funding system is highly flawed…arts and culture in the city is defined passively by the Commission for Arts and Culture. To date, the city does not dictate or even encourage any particular kind of art or culture. We don’t have any sort of a survey or any regular analysis that says we’re funding this much music, or this much dance and visual art. So it ends up being a funding system for whoever ends up applying.This comment led VOSD to analyze how much was awarded in the most recent fiscal year by arts disciplines. However, awarding funds by allocating certain “buckets” of dollars by arts discipline would not in any way be considered as a cultural master plan by those who have tackled this work in other cities. That would require a much more in-depth (and expensive) analysis of what the city hopes to accomplish by funding arts and culture, with long-term goals that most likely—in a city like San Diego—would continue to emphasize impact on the quality of life for residents across the city’s neighborhoods and identified arts districts; and impact of arts and culture in a sustaining a thriving tourism industry.One member of the San Diego arts community, Peter Kalivas, executive and artistic director of PGK Dance Project, is cited by VOSD as a vocal critic of the Commission who believes the current funding system does need to be revisited, in part because he feels the old algorithm means the same nonprofits get more or less the same amount of city funding every year. He would like to see funding caps—especially for the largest organizations—to ensure more of the smaller arts groups receive adequate funding. He notes that San Diego Comic-Con International received one of the largest award amounts from the Commission for its new museum in Balboa Park—a whopping $489,802. This feels like a fair point—although without a thoughtful analysis of the impact on tourism and the other revenues generated for the city by this museum, it’s hard to be certain.Which is why San Diego needs—and deserves—attention to its overall framework for allocating public funds for arts and culture, not merely an adjustment to its funding formula.—Eileen CunniffeShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shareslast_img read more

German cable operator Kabel Deutschland has extend

first_imgGerman cable operator Kabel Deutschland has extended its 100Mbps internet service to 23 new cities in Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.The latest upgrade means that high-speed internet is now available to about 9.4 million homes in the operator’s footprint.The latest towns to be upgraded include Bad Reichenhall and surrounding settlements, settlements in the Goslar area, and Rendsburg and surrounding settelements.last_img

CDN costs are likely to drop by an average of 20

first_imgCDN costs are likely to drop by an average of 20% over the next few years, meaning that broadcasters could soon reach a tipping point when CDN will become cheaper than broadcast, according to Thomas Decieux, head of product marketing, multiscreen solutions at Nagra.Speaking at the Connected TV World Summit in London yesterday, Decieux said that Nagra had looked at the cost of satellite delivery per home versus over-the-top TV via a CDN. Based on a 250 channel bouquet delivered at an average of 4Mbps per channel and 25.5 hours of viewing per user a week, with a transponder cost of US$3 million (€2.3 million) a year and a CDN cost of US$0.044 per GB, Decieux said that for over one million users it is already cheaper to deliver a full bouquet via CDN rather than broadcast it via satellite. He said the economics did not yet work for two million subscriber networks, but that they would soon. Decieux said Nagra had calculated that a pay TV offering equivalent to that of CanalSat, with over five million subscribers, would reach its theoretical tipping point in 2018. BSkyB would reach the same point in 2021 for its 10 million subscribers.Decieux said that, for new service providers, it made sense to ask whether it would not now make sense to deliver the service over a CDN network.For existing providers with legacy bases, Decieux said that, for a hypothetical network of two million subscribers, the proportion of channels that will cost-effectively be delivered over satellite as a proportion of the total would diminish over the next 10 years, so that it would ultimately only make sense to deliver a handful of terrestrial over-the-air channels over satellite, with the remainder of the channels delivered over OTT.Decieux cited the example of the Jazzbox service from Jazztel launched at the end of last year in partnership with Prisa TV. The service was delivered over-the-top using an adaptive bit-rate capable IP set-top. Jazztel had previously looked to IPTV, but then redirected its investment from IPTV to OTT. Nagra hosts the service for Jazztel, which has focused on the CDN, client solution and marketing.last_img read more