Related posts:Once Mexico’s booze of ‘drunks,’ mezcal earns respect Chef Jamie Oliver visits Costa Rica, makes tortillas Costa Rica’s best coffee hails once again from Naranjo Francis Ford Coppola wants you to come on his family vacation Vice President Ana Helena Chacón thinks that Costa Rica should be as well known for its cuisine as it is for its beaches and sloths. But will foodies add Costa Rica to a Latin American circuit alongside culinary destinations like Mexico and Peru?On Tuesday, Chacón presented a decree from Casa Presidencial naming Costa Rican cuisine a matter of public interest. The National Plan for Sustainable and Healthy Costa Rican Gastronomy acknowledges food as a cultural expression of the peoples here, and aims to protect and promote the country’s national dishes and produce. Part of the goal of the decree is to position Costa Rica as a destination of agricultural and food tourism.At this writing, there are no funds assigned to the decree.Costa Rican coffee already enjoys a coveted place abroad, and Imperial beer—for better or worse—is a reminder of hot afternoons spent on the beach here. Costa Rican food, on the other hand, often gets left off the list of memorable experiences for tourists. Some might stick up their noses at eating rice and beans multiple times a day, but hey, haters gonna hate.To celebrate the foods that Chacón and others hope will become as well-known abroad as rainforests, toucans and monkeys, The Tico Times hereby submits its picks for the Top 10 Costa Rican dishes:1. Gallo pintoPity the person who starts their day in Costa Rica without this iconic dish and a side of fried eggs. Rice and black beans fried up with onion, sweet pepper and a dash of Lizano sauce and some spoonfuls of the bean’s cooking liquor, this is definitely a meal that will stick with you the whole day—or at least until you order a casado. A typical “casado” served in a San José soda. Francesco Vicenzi/The Tico Times2. CasadoOK, it’s not really a dish, but it the cornerstone of the diet and a combination of Costa Rican staples. The casado is any combination of rice, beans, a simple salad or vegetable picadillo, fried plantains, and sometimes pasta or potatoes, crowned by a protein such as fish, chicken or beef, all on the same plate. This is a dish that will give any visitor enough energy to hike a volcano. Chifrijo: a $15-million recipe? Robert Isenberg/The Tico Times3. ChifrijoPerhaps Costa Rica’s most beloved bar food, this combination of rice, beans (notice the trend here?), chicharrones (fried pork), pico de gallo and tortilla chips is the best way to start a round of drinks with friends. Restauranteur Miguel Cordero claimed he invented the dish and sued for damages to the tune of $15 million. Worth every penny.4. Olla de carneA simple but satisfying beef soup served with chunks of chayote, squash, potato and other vegetables that would warm anyone’s bones on a cold night in the mountains.5. Rice-and-BeansA Caribbean twist on the classic rice and beans combo, “rice-and-beans” takes its name from the English patois spoken in Limón. The basic recipe has rice, beans, coconut milk, thyme and spicy chile panameño served with chicken in hot tomato or coconut sauce. Check out a recipe here.6. PatíThe iconic beef turnovers of the Caribbean trace their roots to Jamaica. Stuffed with ground beef, onion, spices, chile panameño, and fried in a flaky pastry shell, these little guys are not to be missed.7. PataconesSmashed and twice-fried plantains are the perfect delivery mechanism for anything from pureed black beans to guacamole. Bundles of tamales called “piñas” for sale. The Tico Times8. TamalesTraditionally a Christmas treat, Tico tamales stand out from the Mexican variety (except for Oaxaca tamales) with their banana-leaf wrappers. Served with coffee, these seasonal snacks are a social experience, from making them with a crew of family and friends in the traditional tamaleada, to the rounds of invitations throughout the holidays to come over and sample the finished project.9. Arroz con palmitoThe Costa Rican equivalent of macaroni and cheese. Creamy, cheesy baked rice with hearts of palm, this is comfort food at its finest.10. RondónRondón (from “run down,” as in “whatever the cook can run down”) is the quintessential coastal seafood stew, including an arsenal of tubers such as sweet potato, cassava, taro and potatoes, along with whatever seafood products are available, plus plantains and breadfruit braised in velvety coconut cream and spices.11. Bonus: Salsa LizanoSure, it’s a condiment but it’s also its own food group, right? This little bottle of “salsa inglesa” is a staple in Tico kitchens and used in many of these dishes listed. Gringos might draw strange glances from locals when putting it on eggs in the morning, but we’re still learning, OK?What did we miss? Tell us what Tico favorites are on your plate in the comments below. Facebook Comments
Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact 6. Oakland RaidersHi: 3Lo: 9Comment: If Beast Mode has a retro year or anything close, as some predict, this offense could be deadly despite a shift in philosophy. — MorganNext: at Tennessee7. Kansas City ChiefsHi: 7Lo: 9Comment: Offense in flux, but Andy Reid always gets points out of his teams. — LapinskiNext: at New England (Thursday)8. Dallas CowboysHi: 7Lo: 12Comment: Prescott won 13 games as a starter last year, tied for most by a rookie QB in NFL history. — JureckiNext: vs. New York Giants (Sunday night)9. Arizona CardinalsHi: 8Lo: 11Comment: A return to glory led by a defense that I think is going to surprise some people. — BurnsNext: at Detroit (Sunday)10. New York GiantsHi: 4Lo: 20Comment: Can they win in Dallas if OBJ can’t play? — MarottaNext: at Dallas (Sunday night)11. Tennessee TitansHi: 6Lo: 17Comment: Marcus Mariota is healthy. Andrew Luck is not. That could be the difference in the AFC South. — MorganNext: vs. Oakland (Sunday)12. Denver BroncosHi: 11Lo: 13Comment: The defense can still get it done. Can Trevor Siemian? — BurnsNext: vs. Los Angeles Chargers (Monday night)13. Tampa Bay BuccaneersHi: 9Lo: 18Comment: Dirk Koetter always believed he was an offensive genius. Now his team is a fashionable pick in the NFC. — MorganNext: vs. Chicago (Sunday, 9/17) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 29. Chicago BearsHi: 26Lo: 30Comment: Mike Glennon will be on the clock from the moment he takes his first snap. — MorganNext: vs. Atlanta (Sunday)30. Cleveland BrownsHi: 27Lo: 31Comment: This team is really going to struggle with Kizer learning on the job. — BurnsNext: vs. Pittsburgh (Sunday)31. San Francisco 49ersHi: 30Lo: 31Comment: The Brian Hoyer Era has begun! — LapinskiNext: vs. Carolina (Sunday)32. New York JetsHi: 32Lo: 32Comment: Todd Bowles is going to be fired by Halloween. — BurnsNext: at Buffalo (Sunday) Top Stories 22. Baltimore RavensHi: 15Lo: 24Comment: It’s really just a crapshoot when you get to the bottom third of the NFL. We’ll take the Ravens’ track record. — MorganNext: at Cincinnati (Sunday)23. Miami DolphinsHi: 16Lo: 24Comment: Reuniting Gase and Cutler? It’s just so crazy it might…never mind, it won’t work. — BurnsNext: at Los Angeles Chargers (Sunday 9/14)24. Los Angeles ChargersHi: 16Lo: 25Comment: Several Texas high school programs will have higher attendance figures than the Chargers this year. — MarottaNext: at Denver (Monday night)25. Indianapolis ColtsHi: 19Lo: 27Comment: I don’t want to upset the Kaepernick crowd, but Scott Tolzien is starting for an NFL team this week. — MarottaNext: at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday)26. Jacksonville JaguarsHi: 25Lo: 28Comment: The Jags were a sleeper pick last year. This year, not so much. — MorganNext: at Houston (Sunday)27. Buffalo BillsHi: 25Lo: 29Comment: Who’s running this team? Jackie Moon? The next thing the Bills get rid of will be their washing machine. — MarottaNext: vs. New York Jets (Sunday)28. Los Angeles RamsHi: 25Lo: 29Comment: I have a feeling they’re going to end up higher than this. But not until Aaron Donald shows up for work. — BurnsNext: vs. Indianapolis (Sunday) 1. New England PatriotsHi: 1Lo: 1Comment: Because who else are you going to pick? — BurnsNext: vs. Kansas City (Thursday)2. Seattle SeahawksHi: 2Lo: 4Comment: Seahawks advanced to playoffs for the 5th consecutive season in ’16. Have won 10+ games in each of the past five seasons. — JureckiNext: at Green Bay (Sunday)3. Green Bay PackersHi: 2Lo: 7Comment: Sure, their running back wears #88, but they’re still going to be good. — MarottaNext: vs. Seattle (Sunday)4. Pittsburgh SteelersHi: 2Lo: 6Comment: Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Oh, my. — MorganNext: at Cleveland (Sunday)5. Atlanta FalconsHi: 2Lo: 9Comment: Bound to feel some after-effects from that Super Bowl meltdown. — LapinskiNext: at Chicago (Sunday) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 1 Comments Share When the NFL season kicks off Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, not only will the world be watching the defending Super Bowl champions — they’ll be watching 2017’s best team as well.The New England Patriots, at least according to our five-member panel at ArizonaSports.com, is once again the top squad even after adding a handful of new pieces like receivers Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett, running back Rex Burkhead and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. They’ll take on the Kansas City Chiefs, who are also highly-regarded in our initial rankings of the season. 14. Carolina PanthersHi: 10Lo: 18Comment: I believe the Panthers will be back, but I still have early-season questions about Newton. — MarottaNext: at San Francisco (Sunday)15. Philadelphia EaglesHi: 11Lo: 22Comment: Good luck figuring out who their main running back is. — LapinskiNext: at Washington (Sunday)16. Houston TexansHi: 14Lo: 20Comment: They’re like the Broncos to me, except they have hope at QB with Watson waiting in the wings. — MarottaNext: vs. Jacksonville (Sunday)17. Minnesota VikingsHi: 14Lo: 21Comment: Bradford started the season 5-0 last year without throwing an interception. — JureckiNext: vs. New Orleans (Monday night)18. Detroit LionsHi: 13Lo: 25Comment: Matthew Stafford made a billion dollars in the time you took to read this. — LapinskiNext: vs. Arizona (Sunday)19. New Orleans SaintsHi: 16Lo: 23Comment: This team has a last-gasp feel to it. — BurnsNext: at Minnesota (Monday night)20. Cincinnati BengalsHi: 14Lo: 24Comment: Over/under on Burfict fines is set at $400K. — MarottaNext: vs. Baltimore (Sunday)21. Washington RedskinsHi: 15Lo: 23Comment: Looking forward to another year of talk about Kirk Cousins’ contract. Yes, that was sarcasm. — MarottaNext: vs. Philadelphia (Sunday) Each week, a panel of Dave Burns, Luke Lapinski, Mike Jurecki, Vince Marotta and Craig Morgan will vote each NFL team from 1 to 32 and we’ll lay out the rankings here for you.Power rankings will normally be published on Tuesday, but this week, in conjunction with the beginning of the season, they’re live on Thursday.Ties will go to the team that receives the majority of higher rankings from our panel.Week 1 Composite Ballot Burns | Jurecki | Lapinski | Marotta | Morgan The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo
A NEW centralised data base has been launched, cleaning, filtering, and mapping 145,000 real estate transactions across Cyprus and breaking them down by municipality, property type, and by price band, with the findings analysed using maps and thermal maps.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 ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
06Jun Legislation for state’s Qualified Forest Program for timber harvesting and management signed into law On hand for the ceremony were from left: Todd Johnson, forestry services manager for Weyerhaeuser’s Grayling; Gov. Rick Snyder; Gregory Cairns, Rendon’s legislative assistant; and Rep. Rendon.Legislation to encourage owners of the 11 million acres of private forestlands in Michigan to join the state’s Qualified Forest Program for timber harvesting and management was signed into law today. The nine-bill package, which includes a measure sponsored by Rep. Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City, updates the program’s property tax incentives and offers educational and technical assistance.The program is capped at 1.2 million acres but less than 80,000 acres have been enrolled in the program designed to ensure and increase a steady, sustainable supply of timber to an industry that generates $14 billion annually and directly employs 26,000 residents. The package includes Public Acts 42-50 of 2013.Pictured above, from left with all the bill sponsors: Jamie Clover Adams, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development director; Rep. Ed McBroom; Sen. John Moolenaar; Gov. Rick Snyder; Rep. Frank Foster; Sen. Darwin Booher, Rendon; and Sen. Tom Casperson. Categories: Rendon News,Rendon Photos
State Rep. Mary Whiteford was joined Tuesday by William Brown, superintendent of the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency, in testifying before the Senate Education Committee to return hiring decisions back to intermediate school districts (ISDs).Whiteford’s House Bill 4166 will eliminate the need for ISDs to give preferential status in hiring decisions to candidates formerly employed with other districts or a comparable state agency. Multiple ISD officials voiced their support for the legislation during testimony before the House Education Reform Committee in mid-March.“Special education administrators in ISDs need the ability to hire the best professionals to educate their students,” said Whiteford, of Casco Township. “Every child is different and administrators face the challenge of finding the right teachers for the right students.”Brown agreed, stating the legislation “allows us to make independent hiring decisions based solely on the needs in our classrooms and students where it should be.”No vote was made on HB 4166 on Tuesday, but it remains under committee consideration. Categories: News,Whiteford News 04Oct Rep. Whiteford testifies in support of returning hiring decisions to ISDs
State Rep. Roger Hauck of Union Township announced his office hours for the month of April. The representative will be available Friday, April 27 at the following times and locations:9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Leah’s Korner Kafe, 300 E. Railway St. in Coleman;11 a.m. to noon at the Lake Isabella Village Office, 1010 S. Clubhouse Drive in Lake Isabella; and12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the library at the Isabella County Commission on Aging, 2200 S. Lincoln Road in Mount Pleasant.“Remaining open and accessible to the residents of my district is an important part of my job as state representative,” Hauck said. “I encourage those with questions, issues, or concerns to stop by.”No appointments are necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Hauck at 517-373-1789 or via email at RogerHauck@house.mi.gov. 19Apr Rep. Hauck sets local office hours Categories: Hauck News
New state rule helps protect Michigan’s residents, environmentState Rep. Sue Allor today announced the state has implemented an emergency rule immediately prohibiting anchoring in the Straits of Mackinac, where nearly 23 million gallons of oil flows through the Line 5 pipeline each day.“Line 5 is a great concern to myself and the people I represent, so I was deeply dismayed to find out that the ‘no-anchor zone’ that was believed to exist, in fact did not,” said Allor, of Wolverine. “As chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources, I commend Director Keith Creagh and Gov. Rick Snyder for working with our counterparts to implement an anchor ban in the area and ensure immediate effect in the Straits of Mackinac. My hope is that this will help keep our waters safe until we are able to enact a more permanent solution.”The emergency rule formalizes a previously informal anchor restriction in the Straits of Mackinac by prohibiting anchoring under Michigan state law. Productive discussions are underway with the U.S. Coast Guard on permanent measures that would complement the state’s temporary emergency rule.“Anchoring in the Straits of Mackinac poses a serious threat to the welfare and protection of Michigan and our vital natural resources,” Gov. Snyder said. “Anchoring could cause severe environmental damage and threatens to disrupt critical energy and communication services between the Upper and Lower peninsulas. This emergency rule will help us better protect Michigan waters and residents until a permanent solution is in place.”Issued under the Marine Safety sections of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, the emergency rule will remain in place for 6 months, with the option of an additional 6-month renewal.The eastern boundary of the no-anchor zone is defined by the Mackinac Bridge. The western boundary is defined by a line beginning at the western edge of McGulpin Point in the Lower Peninsula to the western edge of an unnamed island immediately southwest of Point La Barbe in the Upper Peninsula. Click here to view a map of the boundaries.### 24May Rep. Allor: Emergency rule mandates no-anchor zone in Straits of Mackinac Categories: Allor News
Share1TweetShareEmail1 SharesJune 28, 2014; Elko Daily Free PressSometimes, the government spawns a nonprofit to do what it cannot do alone. That’s often how a public-private partnership is born.Such is the case in Elko, Nevada, a small city about 200 miles due west of Salt Lake City and 300 miles due north of Las Vegas, whose courts formed a new nonprofit group to help defendants through alcohol and drug recovery.The Elko Daily Free Press reports that the county’s specialty court team, which includes both local district court judges, launched New Directions, a nonprofit run by a board of volunteers who are unaffiliated with Elko’s four drug court programs. Its purpose is to assist specialty court participants in ways that the court cannot. That might include needs like a baby’s crib, medical care and medication, education and training expenses, and rent.“Our participants have challenges other than drug addiction,” District Judge Al Kacin told the Free Press, adding, “although some participants have access to resources and family support, many do not. The nonprofit is designed to help prevent stumbling blocks for clients.”Although the court created New Directions, the group’s board will make decisions independent of the courts, which cannot by law raise money. The nonprofit will decide how to allocate the funds it receives, which could be given as gifts or loans, and it will have the discretion to continue assisting participants for up to two years after graduation, according to the paper.The idea is to allow drug and DUI court participants to complete the program and remain sober.“If we can get these people in recovery and assist them to stay in recovery, then they are productive members of society,” District Judge Nancy Porter told the paper, “We can’t incarcerate our way out of this problem.”In addition, the Free Press says that the fiscal impact favors specialty courts and similar approaches—for every $1 that goes into drug courts, taxpayers save $3.36 by avoiding criminal justice costs, according to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.The Elko nonprofit is modeled after a similar group in Reno and comes after two years of planning. Court officials were assisted in setting up New Directions by local accounting and law firms.—Larry KaplanShare1TweetShareEmail1 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares September 5, 2013;CNNRape is a shocking subject, and nowhere more so than in India, where it increasingly occupies public discourse. Recent news reported by CNN that the accused in a high-profile rape case are set to be freed will add further fury to that discourse. The case highlights more than the prevalence of rape and sexual abuse in India. Concerns are being raised that there are caste and political elements involved.In May of this year, two teenage girl cousins were found hanged by a single rope from a mango tree in a rural village in Uttar Pradesh, one of the poorest and most populous states of India. It came not long after the brutal gang rape of an Indian university student on a bus in Delhi. Soon after the Uttar Pradesh incident, five men were arrested and charged. Three were accused of rape. The other two, policemen, were accused of trying to cover up the crime. Those five have now been released on bail as a forensic report by the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) has found that the girls had not been raped. Central Bureau of Investigation, India’s counterpart to the U.S. FBI, told Reuters, “We have come to know that the girls were not sexually assaulted.” Even before the CDFD report, local police had cast doubt on whether the girls had been sexually assaulted and instead suggested they could have been victims of so-called “honor” killings. A senior officer puts some of the blame for a miscarriage of justice on the media. He told Reuters that the preliminary investigation had raised suspicions about the killings: “I had said very clearly that it’s not a case of gang rape…the media was not ready to listen to us. Instead they chose to start a media trial.”From their surnames—the usual way of identifying a person’s caste in India—it appears that the suspects belonged to the same caste as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav. Yadav and his party are political opponents of newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yadav, too, has criticized the media for twisting the truth around the death of the two girls. “They have taken the society and politics for a ride,” he said at a recent rally. “You tell us, have they not disrespected the women of Badaun?” He also complained the media had failed to talk about or report cases of violence against women that were taking place “in abundance” in Gujarat, the Prime Minister’s home state.Prime Minister Modi spoke out publicly against rape during his first Independence Day speech. “Today when we hear about these rapes, our heads hang in shame,” he said.According to Reuters, the number of reported rapes in India rose by 35.2 percent to 33,707 in 2013 from the previous year, based on Indian National Crime Records Bureau.—John Godfrey ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share15Tweet26Share11Email52 SharesJune 27, 2016, The GuardianA recent Populus survey (the entire study is here) indicates that the public’s trust in charities in England and Wales has fallen to the lowest recorded level since government-sponsored monitoring began in 2005. This infographic depicts the trust rating declining to 57 percent from 67 percent in 2014. The giving public is more likely to trust small charities (57%) over large ones (34%). Charities that operate only in the UK (61%) are trusted more than those that work internationally (31%). Trust in the UK’s Charity Commission fell from 60% to 55%. Here is a fitting comment to the Guardian article linked above:I used to donate to Oxfam, Age UK and that Sky rainforest thing. Got fed up with being rung up and pestered to increase my donation by inarticulate clowns in call centers trying to make me feel guilty for not giving enough. I was even pestered for money when I was unemployed. I now give only to small local charities rather than large charities, which seem to exist only to sustain themselves.Charity scandals were cited by 33 percent of the people surveyed as being the primary reason for trusting charities less, such as the suicide of Olive Cooke. According to the UK’s Fundraising Standards Board’s investigation, Mrs. Cooke was overwhelmed by more than 3,000 appeal letters a year. The FRSB’s chairman said, “Mrs. Cooke’s experience demonstrates the inevitable consequences of a fundraising regime where charities have been willing to exchange or sell the personal details of donors to each other, and to commercial third parties.” The Charity Commission’s chairman, William Shawcross, said, “Poor fundraising practice, inappropriate data sharing, damaging commercial relationships [and] the high-profile collapse of Kids Company have all combined to knock the public’s confidence in charity. As long as there is a cloud over the sector, charities will struggle to be persuasive over high salaries for high-skilled staff, seemingly large fundraising costs and low charitable expenditure.”The Populus study also found that 67 percent of the people surveyed object to high salaries and administrative costs and that 74 percent dislike aggressive fundraising tactics. The UK is setting up a new fundraising regulating body to help restore public trust. The UK’s National Council for Voluntary Organizations is helping its members demonstrate to the giving public the impact their programs are making. Earlier this year, Members of Parliament warned that charities would face new statutory regulations unless they can police themselves: “This is the last chance for the trustees of charities, who allowed this happen, to put their house in order. Ultimately, the responsibility rests with them. No system of regulation can substitute for effective governance by trustees.”The Brexit referendum also places pressure on charities to restore trust. With looming political uncertainty, let alone potential national financial challenges, much greater demands will almost certainly be made in the voluntary sector to meet increasing societal needs. Charities will also need to be engaged in the UK’s negotiations with the European Union to protect the interests of their beneficiaries. Trust and confidence matter now more than ever. At a time when falling public trust in charities is tied to aggressive fundraising practices, the voluntary sector will likely need to raise more funds than ever before because of the Brexit vote. One or more of the following scenarios will test the voluntary sector’s commitment to ethical fundraising practices and sound governance: EU funding of UK programs will likely diminish, if not in some cases end. The UK may face a recession resulting in cuts to public services. The UK’s grantmaking foundations may lose investment income. Inflation would hit disposable income and therefore charitable giving. Many corporations may move overseas to continue to benefit from the conveniences of the EU. The Brexit referendum also revealed disturbing divisions within society that need healing. According to this UK study of charitable giving, the public trusts small charities almost twice as much as they do large ones. Aside from the logistical inability of large nonprofits to be genuinely responsive to and personal with all its donors, there may be another quality of the small nonprofit worth examining—its ability to fully live its mission. The risk each nonprofit faces as it grows larger, in addition to the temptation of outsourcing some of its fundraising to “the experts,” is becoming self-enclosed, frozen by its elites and perfectly planned programs, and clinging to its preservation. Perhaps the way ahead for us all is to remember the value of humility and to consistently return to the core of each of our missions.—James SchafferShare15Tweet26Share11Email52 Shares
Share78TweetShare3Email81 SharesBy Yeungb (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsApril 23, 2017; SFGate.comLitigation has been a critical and much-used tactic in resisting President Trump’s policies at the federal level in the last few months, so it is certainly no surprise that progressive legal entities might find themselves under fire by conservatives, especially when they are somewhat iconic.Theodore Shaw, director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law, led Barack Obama’s transition team for civil rights at the Department of Justice. Now, the 16-year-old Center is under attack by conservatives on the state’s board of governors, who want to prohibit the center from filing lawsuits on behalf of poor and disenfranchised populations.While lawsuits are only one part of its work, it is one of the center’s mainstay strategies for pursuing change in recalcitrant systems. Here’s what the center does:The UNC Center for Civil Rights is committed to the advancement of civil rights and social justice, especially in the American South. It fosters empirical and analytical research, sponsors student inquiry and activities and convenes faculty, visiting scholars, policy advocates and practicing attorneys to confront legal and social issues of greatest concern to racial and ethnic minorities, to the poor and to other potential beneficiaries of civil rights advances. The Center’s work focuses on education, housing and community development, economic justice and voting rights.Those who would like to eliminate the center’s courtroom work says that it strays from the education mission of the country’s oldest public university. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor Gene Nichol disagrees and calls the proposal “strictly, certainly and undoubtedly ideological.”Board member Steve Long said the center must refocus on its education mission, and “one of the things you say no to is public interest law firms.” He added, “free enterprise, civil rights, protection of children’s rights—whatever the cause it doesn’t matter. Are you going to stay on mission as an educational institution or not?”The same board closed Nichols’ UNC’s Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity two years ago.Presumably, Long feels that involving students in cases that protect people against discrimination is devoid of educational value. The Center for Civil Rights has specialized in fighting social, economic, and racial discrimination on behalf of individuals and organizations in North Carolina who would often otherwise be too poor to pay for the representation.“The folks pushing this are opposed to the nature of the advocacy that the center does and the issues that people we represent are fighting for,” said Mark Dorosin, the center’s managing attorney.Again, as with the threats to defund the Legal Services Corporation and similar efforts to deconstruct our litigation capabilities, other nonprofits should resist actively.—Ruth McCambridgeShare78TweetShare3Email81 Shares
Share158TweetShare5Email163 Shares“Department of Housing and Urban Development Seal” Modified by DonkeyHotey.May 1, 2017; Syracuse Post-StandardThe new federal spending agreement that’s due to be voted on by Friday of this week shows no cuts to the $3 billion budget for Community Development Block Grants. More than 1200 localities and community groups depend upon the CDBG program, which is overseen by HUD and has been a mainstay of community funding since 1974, when Gerald Ford created it as a source of flexible funding to be devoted in a tailored way to local community development needs.The program requires local citizen participation in the disbursal of the money and requires that it benefit low- and moderate-income residents. But the very flexibility that has made it something of a godsend to communities is exactly what President Trump appeared to object to in his proposed budget, where he charged that CDBG “is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results.” The George W. Bush administration rated the program as “ineffective” in its “ExpectMore.gov” accountability project, and HUD officials have acknowledged that few evaluative studies have been done of CDBG. However, many disagree with these assessments, including a sampling of the country’s mayors surveyed by Politico.On April 3rd, the U.S. Conference of Mayors sent a letter to Congress that reads, in part:Since FY 2005, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has collected accomplishment data for the CDBG program. The data highlight the program’s flexibility to design and implement strategies tailored to meet local needs and priorities. It has provided funds in every state, including housing investments, public infrastructure improvements, and economic development, while also providing public services, including services for seniors, youth, the disabled, and employment training. Despite being a key tool for aiding our communities, the CDBG program, like many programs, has taken a share of deep cuts in recent years, falling substantially—by nearly $1.4 billion since FY2001. While the program helps more than 1,200 cities, counties, states, and rural areas meet the needs of low and moderate-income people and communities, funding cuts have severely weakened the ability of grantees to revitalize their communities and respond to local need. We share your commitment to the most effective use of taxpayer dollars and believe that these grants have proven highly effective. Based on the data that grantees have reported to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development over the past nine years (FY2005–FY2016), CDBG has:Helped over 1.3 million low- and moderate-income persons through single-family, owner-occupied rehabilitation, homeownership assistance, energy-efficient improvements, and lead-based abatement, among other activities;Created or retained 387,109 jobs for low- and moderate-income people through a variety of economic development activities;Benefited over 42 million low- and moderate-income persons through public improvements including senior centers, child care centers, and centers for people with disabilities;Benefited over 133 million low- and moderate-income persons through public services such as employment training, meals and other services to the elderly, services for abused and neglected children, assistance to local food banks, and other services;Helped Seniors Live Independently. CDBG funds are used to rehabilitate the homes of low- and moderate-income elderly persons to allow them to age in place, thereby, avoiding costly assisted living and nursing home care. CDBG provides resources to Meals on Wheels and other local food programs to ensure our low- and moderate-income seniors receive daily nourishment and contact. Further, CDBG funds are used to build community centers to allow seniors to receive health and recreational services to stay engaged and healthy;Strengthened Families and Communities through Homeownership. CDBG funds are used to assist creditworthy, working for families with down payment and closing cost assistance to purchase a home. Homeownership stabilizes neighborhoods, allows families to build assets, and adds to the local tax base;Created Safer Communities. Local communities use CDBG to work with local police departments and neighborhood leaders to fight crime and make neighborhoods safer places to live and work by creating and expanding neighborhood watch groups, making safety improvements to homes and businesses, and encouraging local police sub-stations to move into high crime areas;Invested in Our Next Generation. Local communities use CDBG funds to provide afterschool programs to low-income children, summer jobs for low-income youth, and build recreation centers to provide a safe outlet for learning, sports and personal growth.Additionally, every $1.00 of CDBG leverages an additional $3.65 in non-CDBG funding.CDBG makes its way into the local economy through an extensive network of local organizations and remains a lifeline for families and communities. It is one federal program that touches the lives of nearly every American in some fashion.Of course, as we mention in today’s feature, these battles will likely need to be refought this summer and early fall as the fiscal year budget is developed.—Ruth McCambridgeCATEGORY:TAGS:Share158TweetShare5Email163 Shares
Football governing body UEFA has awarded broadcast rights to the 2012-15 Champions League and Europa League in Ukraine to Media Group 1+1 and Media Group Ukraine.With regard to both tournaments, each broadcaster will show one live match per match week as well as a highlights programme.The rights can be exploited via the internet and on mobile devices.
Lagardère and Vivendi are engaged in a bitter legal dispute over claims that the latter is deliberately attempting to diminish the value of Canal Plus France in order to force Lagardère to abandon plans to float its 20% in the pay TV operator.Lagardère has filed a suit with the Paris Tribunal de Commerce in an attempt to force Vivendi to restore to Canal Plus France its cash reserves. It argues that a cash management agreement between Lagardère and Vivendi has been rendered null and void because it was not previously approved by the company’s supervisory board. Lagardère specifically alleges that Vivendi has permanently made use of the cash surplus for its own ends.Canal Plus France’s cash reserves amounted to €1.6 billion at the end of November, and Lagardère has demanded restitution of this amount.Lagardère aruges that Vivendi’s behaviour is designed to reduce the value of Canal Plus France by reducing the return on its shares, ultimately forcing Lagardère to abandon its plan to float its stake on the public market and sell to Vivendi at a price determined by the latter.Vivendi has denied the claim and has said that the deal was approved by Lagardère. “Vivendi formally denies the allegations of the Lagardère group as to the nature of this cash agreement, which is an ordinary course agreement under normal conditions, and which does not require prior approval from the Supervisory Board of Canal Plus France,” it said. “Vivendi is even more surprised by this claim since Lagardère TV Holding expressly approved this agreement during the creation of Canal Plus France in 2007. Lagardère has never, until now, challenged this when under renewal by tacit agreement. In addition, the statutory auditors of Canal Plus France have considered from the outset that the cash management agreement is not a regulated agreement.”At the time the deal was agreed between the pair, Canal Plus France had limited cash reserves, but these have mounted considerably since then. Lagardère reportedly has taken the view that Vivendi has deliberately used the funds to finance long-term investment, including its recent investment in Poland, at the expense of Canal Plus France’s shareholders.Vivendi in turn alleges that Lagardère is attempting to “destabilize” Vivendi in order to force it to buy back the Lagardère stake. The move comes as Vivendi, burdened by debts amounting to €14 billion, is weighing a number of options on its future direction. “Vivendi does not intend to be intimidated by such abusive maneuvering which negatively impacts its image and will exercise its rights. The Group has asked its lawyers to file complaints of abuse of legal process and will also seek damages, which it is currently evaluating,” it said.The case will be heard on March 21.
The BBC has confirmed that it is in discussions with Sony and the All England Club – the tennis club that hosts the annual Wimbledon tournament – about trialling 4K.A spokesperson for the BBC said that it was in “very early discussions,” following reports last week that the super HD standard was set to tested at the tournament this summer.TechRadar reported that the BBC will handle the 4K filming while Sony will bring the equipment and the technical expertise. Separately London newspaper The Evening Standard reported that Sony will trial 4K at Wimbledon and also plans to trial it at this summer’s Confederations Cup football tournament in Brazil.The BBC previously used Wimbledon as part of its 3D broadcast experiment, airing 3D footage from the tournament to the BBC HD channel. However, the BBC recently shut down BBC HD, replacing it with a simulcast HD feed of BBC2, leaving doubts about the future of its 3D trial.
UK regulator Ofcom has unveiled new proposals to make it easier for consumer to switch between high-speed broadband services.The proposals, part of a review of wholesale telecoms prices, would see the wholesale cost of switching a customer from one superfast broadband supplier to another fall by up to 80%. In addition, the minimum length of the wholesale contract between BT and the switched customer’s new supplier would be reduced from a year to just one month.Ofcom said the proposals are designed to promote competition in the superfast broadband market at the wholesale level, leading to consumer benefits in the form of lower retail prices and easier switching between superfast broadband providers.The plans include reducing the charge levied by BT Openreach to switch customers from £50 (€58) to between £10 and £15.
Polish broadcaster TVN Group said that a record 4.3 million people in November watched 44.4 million video streams across its web properties – including tvn.pl and its VOD service tvnplayer.pl.TVN Player has “the strongest user engagement among all VOD platforms in Poland,” TVN claimed, with the average time a user spent on tvnplayer.pl in November totaling 7 hours and 34 minutes.The VOD service was visited by nearly 2.3 million users of personal computers, resulting in 10.7% reach, TVN said – with the stats not including smartphone, tablet, smart TV or games console app access.“TVN’s high quality news and locally produced content are the main drivers behind the strong response from online users,” said Maciej Maciejowski, member of the management board in charge of new business development at TVN.“We expect further dynamic growth of our reach and drive high quality inventory to satisfy advertisers’ growing demand for online video advertising.”
Yuri ProkhorovRussian satellite operator Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) and Germany-based satellite capacity reseller Romantis are set to provide new video services in the African region.The pair are creating a new DTH TV-platform for Africa that will let current and new broadcasters launch and promote national and regional TV programs across the continent.This project will use the new Russian telecoms satellite Express-AM6, which launched last month, and the German teleport VicusLuxLink.“In accordance with our target, when the satellite is commissioned and put into the commercial operation, we are planning to deliver the TV broadcasting services on the African market which presents a very attractive business platform,” said RSCC Director General, Yuri Prokhorov.“The launch of the new RSCC satellite with the capacity related engagements in Europe, the Middle East and Africa will boost the business cooperation between RSCC and Romantis to a new level,” said Romantis CEO Harald Stange.
Olivier LaouchezYouth-oriented media group Trace is to launch a subscription VoD service for sub-Saharan Africa in the first quarter of next year and has hired Nathalie Morley, the former creative director of Fashion TV, to run the unit. Trace is also to develop scripted series and movies under the Trace Studios name.“We are going to invest in original production,” CEO Olivier Laouchez told DTVE. Trace Studios’ first projects will be series set in Cote d’Ivoire called Pti Bisous, produced in partnership with local broadcaster RTI, Lagardère Entertainment-backed Diffa and Martica Productions, and movie Le Gang des Antillais, based on true story about gangsters from the Caribbean island, to star Mathieu Kassovitz and Romane Bohringer.Laouchez said Trace had further ambitions to develop original productions, with former SABC executive Leo Manne, now Trace’s SVP in South Africa charged with identifying projects, with addition series or movies expected to be announced by the end of the year. Laouchez said Trace would invest with partners in projects for which it could secure rights across both French and English-speaking markets.Trace Play, the company’s SVoD offering, will include “a huge component of African content” with music, kids shows and series, which would be available across French and English-speaking sub-Saharan Africa as well as French-speaking countries in Europe.Trace is developing a raft of other projects to expand its presence in Africa, including the launch of Trace Mobile in partnership with Cell C. For this Trace is developing a streaming app with Universal Music that will include music, games and other content. “We are working with Universal to adapt music streaming to Africa,” said Laouchez. The service will include the ability to download as well as stream content.Trace is also launching a new music channel, Trace Gospel, which will air Gospel music and will be available in English and French versions. Laouchez said the first platform deal for the channel is expected to be announced in November.Trace will also launch the third edition of its Trace Music Stars competition, where contestants record song entries by mobile with a chance to win a recording contract. This year’s edition will involve the country finalists being taken to Altanta in the US for the final stage of the competition.
Satellite operators should return to growth this year, boosting their creditworthiness, according to a report by credit ratings agency Moody’s.Moody’s expects aggregate organic revenue growth of 3% at constant currency for major satellite players Eutelsat, SES and Inmarsat. It also expects a higher growth rate for emerging markets broadband specialist Avanti Communications Group.The rebound follows a year of stagnation in the satellite business, according to Moody’s. The agency says that over the near to medium term, operators exposed to fixed and mobile data services, particularly for enterprise networks and consumer broadband, and to emerging markets will experience the strongest growth.Major operators’ position should also improve as a result of reduced capital expenditure according to Moody’s, which predicts the sector’s capex as a percentage of revenues, excluding Avanti, to be in the range of 32%-34% in 2015-16, moderating toward its long-term average of 34%, declining in 2017 to under 30%.In 2016, SES’s and Eutelsat’s EBITDA margins will likely remain in the 74%-77% range and Inmarsat’s will stay between 52% and 55%, according to Moody’s, which gives Eutelsat a credit rating of Baa3 positive and SES a Baa2 stable rating.“In 2016, we expect stable credit metrics for the larger European satellite service operators, with revenue growth set to rebound in the coming year after stagnating in 2015 and capex growth to slow,” says Alejandro Nunez, a Moody’s vice-president, senior analyst and author of the report.