National Meteorological Institute (IMN) forecasts released Thursday predict temperatures in the Central Valley will hover around 31 degrees Celsius (88 F) for Semana Santa, next week.The IMN said beachgoers can expect clear, blue skies in coastal areas, and temperatures could reach up to 36 C (97 F) along Pacific shores. Temperatures at Caribbean beaches could reach 33 C (91 F), making for a hot week for vacationers.Although the temperatures are high, they will not surpass those registered during the same period last year, meteorologists said.The IMN also said that high temperatures will continue through April and could even increase, because the sun’s heat will be more direct over the country. Officials caution residents to avoid excessive exposure to direct sunlight.A slight chance of occasional showers in mountainous regions is forecast, the IMN added. Facebook Comments No related posts.
in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Community National Banks Economic Growth and Paperwork Reduction Act Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Federal Savings Associations Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 2015-05-06 Staff Writer May 6, 2015 583 Views OCC Works to Decrease Regulatory Burden on National Banks, FSAs The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) took steps toward reducing the regulatory burden placed on community national banks and federal savings associations (FSAs) by participating in an outreach meeting as part of the Economic Growth and Paperwork Reduction Act (EGRPRA) on Monday.Thomas J. Curry, comptroller of the currency, led discussions at the meeting, which is the third in a series of meetings under the EGRPRA.According to Curry, the OCC is working on an interagency basis and with the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) to make regulatory compliance easier for FSAs and national banks – particularly those on the smaller side.“Smaller banks and thrifts don’t have the same kind of resources that large institutions can bring to bear on regulatory compliance,” Curry said, “and if we can eliminate unnecessary rules and streamline others, we can make it easier for these institutions to serve the economic needs of their communities.”Curry even said there would be an outreach meeting the future that would specifically focus on rural banks, which he said have “their own unique challenges.”In his speech, Curry recognized that regulations are, by nature, burdensome, but he said it’s the ever-increasing regulatory chances that have him concerned.“What worries me is the way that the regulatory rulebook builds up over time, adding layer after layer of requirements that can be quite onerous for small banks,” Curry said. “So we at the OCC are taking this process very seriously.”After Curry’s introduction panelists and audience members were allowed to ask questions and voice concerns about regulatory compliance. They could also submit ideas for improving or bettering the process.“We will consider carefully all of the comments received today,” Curry said, “and a summary will be published on the regulations.gov Web site and included in our report to Congress.”So far, the OCC has submitted three proposals to Congress that aim to eliminate regulatory burden. The first would change the asset threshold to allow more institutions a longer, 18-month examination cycle. The second proposes that community banks be exempt from the Volcker Rule, while the third would provide FSAs an opportunity expand their business model to better meet the needs of the community.But as to when these proposals–or any regulatory reform, for that matter—would go into effect, Curry said it could be a while.“While this process will unfold over some time, I can assure you that we at the OCC will not wait until it is over to make changes when a solid case has been made for reform,” Curry said. “If it is clear that a regulation is unduly burdensome, and if we have authority to make changes to eliminate that burden, we will act. However, many regulatory requirements are rooted in laws passed by Congress, and changes may require legislative action. In those cases, we will work with Congress to remove unnecessary burdens.”See all of Curry’s comments at OCC.gov Share
0 Comments Share The Revolution is a professional baseball team in the Atlantic league that has no affiliation with MLB.Arians joins other famous Yorkers, such as Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania’s 47th Governor, and NFL Hall-of-Famer Chris Doleman, who played for William Penn Senior High School.Arians also attended William Penn Senior, which is only about a mile from the Revolution’s stadium. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians speaks to the media during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals defeated the Packers 38-8. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians will be immortalized in a bobblehead in York, Pa., Friday.If you’re in Central PA tomorrow York Revolution giving out @BruceArians garden gnome at gm vs Bridgeport Bluefish pic.twitter.com/NVEjL6e01i— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) June 16, 2016The York native is being honored during a York Revolution baseball game in a giveaway that is paying tribute to the Revolution’s 10th anniversary season. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Go back to the e-newsletter >In June next year, world-leading mega motor-cruiser SeaDream II will be visiting half a dozen Greek ports and islands including sites for some of the earliest Olympic Games, historic Byzantine period ruins, and tiny little-known tourist gems in the renowned Cyclades IslandsHighlights include a day at Sarande that’s one of the greatest classical cities on the Albanian Riviera, with an optional visit to the nearby 2,500 year old ruins of UNESCO-listed Butrint, and traversing the 6.4km Corinth Canal begun by Emperor Nero in 67AD, but not completed until 1893.SeaDream II has 56 staterooms for a maximum of 112 guests serviced by 95 crew. The trip will sail this 9-day roundtrip voyage from the Athens’ port of Piraeus on 18 June 2016. Its priced from US$6548pp twin share, including drinks from the open bars, wines with lunch and dinner, power and sail water-sports where permitted, on-board gratuities, and government charges and taxes.Go back to the e-newsletter >
Categories: VerHeulen News 24Sep VerHeulen bill clarifies professional development, recertification for nonpublic teachers Legislation introduced in June by state Rep. Rob VerHeulen, R-Walker, was approved by the Michigan House today and intends to clearly allow nonpublic school teachers the opportunity to receive recertification credit through professional development similar to those in the public school system.“Asking certain Michigan teachers to jump through unnecessary hoops for recertification takes away from our children’s education,” VerHeulen said. “Many nonpublic schools offer professional development opportunities for teachers that are similar to public school requirements.”House Bill 5669 specifies that nonpublic schools can offer teacher professional development and, as long as current public school guidelines are maintained, those nonpublic teachers can receive credit for teaching certificates among other professional goals.“Unfortunately, there’s a grey area in the law that can make it harder for nonpublic teachers to gain recertification, which will be resolved with this legislation,” VerHeulen said.The bill explicitly clarifies the law’s ambiguity, encouraging nonpublic school teachers to utilize professional development opportunities for recertification.HB 5669 passed with 109 yes votes and now goes to the Senate for consideration.###
Categories: Featured news,News,Theis News 18Aug Rep. Theis, Brighton Area Fire Authority, Livingston County Sheriff’s Dept., and Neal Nielsen host free car seat safety check event WHY:Nationally certified technicians will be on site to check car seats and help show residents how to properly install car seats. This event is for any age from newborn to youth booster. Residents who wish to register for the event may do so by calling the Brighton Area Fire Authority at (810) 229-6640. Those who drop- in the day of the event will be taken on a first come first serve basis. We will also be raffling off three new car seats! Residents (age 18 and older) who attend the event will be given one free entry into the raffle. Tags: #SB WHO:State Rep. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) with Brighton Area Fire Authority, Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, and Neal Neilsen WHERE:Brighton Area Fire Authority Station 34 WHAT:Free car seat safety check event Brighton, MI 48116 2755 Dorr Road WHEN:Friday, September 25, 2015 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Categories: Crawford News State Rep. Kathy Crawford of Novi introduced a bill Wednesday to allow pharmacists to use their professional judgment to refuse a prescription for a controlled substance.Many pharmacists have expressed they often believe that certain prescriptions were not written in good faith, or filled without a legitimate medical purpose, but do not refuse the prescription because they fear the liabilities that could result. Now, pharmacists will be allowed to refuse these questionable prescriptions without legal ramifications.“Giving pharmacists this freedom gives greater safety against drug abuse and drug-related death,” said Rep. Crawford. “Providing legal immunity furthers their confidence in denying questionable prescriptions.”Prescription drug abuse has become one of the fastest-growing public health concerns in the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that prescription painkiller overdoses resulted in over 15,500 deaths in 2009 alone.House Bill 4405 was referred to the House Health Policy Committee. 23Mar Crawford bill protects pharmacists, deters opioid overdose
Categories: Miller News,News 22Feb Rep. Miller votes for expanded road funding for counties, cities and villages Legislator: Proposal needed to fix roads in Cass and St. Joseph CountiesState Rep. Aaron Miller on Wednesday joined his colleagues in the Michigan House to unanimously advance legislation that will benefit roadways in southwest Michigan as early as this summer.The $175 million proposal provides money for road preservation and construction projects in addition to what was already budgeted.“A unanimous vote shows the legislature is in unequivocal agreement – roads in Michigan are crumbling, worn down and in desperate need of repair,” said Miller, of Sturgis. “The roads are only getting worse as we enter into the spring and we need to provide sufficient funding to fix them so they are safe for motorists.”Statewide funding distribution will include Cass and St. Joseph Counties. Cass County is scheduled to receive an estimated $524,237. St. Joseph will get roughly $522,897. Cities and villages within those counties will also receive funding, including: Burr Oak ($7,966), Cassopolis ($14,701), Centreville ($11,009), Colon ($10,640), Constantine ($17,567), Dowagiac ($47,861), Marcellus ($8,487), Mendon ($8,635), Sturgis ($80,018), Three Rivers ($58,025), Vandalia ($3,709) and White Pigeon ($11,955).The money is left over from a previous state government budget cycle and is already available, meaning no budget cuts or additional fees or taxes are required for the investment. The money included in the bill approved today comes in addition to previous changes that provide more funding for road and bridge projects across the state.House Bill 4321 advances to the Senate for further consideration.
15May Michigan House approves Rep. Canfield’s bill benefitting health care in rural areas The Michigan House today overwhelmingly approved a proposal from Rep. Edward J. Canfield D.O. improving access to health care in rural areas of the state.The measure calls for providing at least $26 million for rural hospitals to help care for Medicaid patients – money some hospitals need to remain open, Canfield said. Some of the money would be dedicated specifically for baby delivery and related services.Canfield’s plan increases funding for the rural hospital access pool and gives it more permanency.“Many rural hospitals need this money simply to keep their doors open. And they are in areas where we simply can’t afford to lose hospitals and health care providers,” said Canfield, a long-time doctor from Sebewaing. “These funds are too important not to have some permanence.”Canfield said the financial viability of rural hospitals has life-and-death consequences.“Keeping these hospitals open saves lives and makes lives better,” Canfield said. “In some areas, losing a hospital may mean a drive that’s an hour or more longer to receive critical care – and that’s time people don’t have in many situations.”House Bill 5934 advances to the Senate for further consideration.### Categories: Canfield News,News
Categories: Hoitenga News 09Apr Rep. Hoitenga invites residents to April office hours Rep. Michele Hoitenga of Manton announced her April office hours for residents of Wexford and Mecosta counties and part of Osceola County.“I look forward to another round of office hours,” Rep. Hoitenga said. “These conversations help me reinforce the solutions that are running smoothly and notify me of the issues that need to be addressed.”Rep. Hoitenga’s office hours schedule is as follows:Friday, April 1911 to 12 p.m. at the Wild Rose Café, 708 Maple St. in Big Rapids;12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Seven Slot Grille, 113 N Chestnut St. in Reed City; and2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Michigan Coffee Co., 6184 E M-115 Suite 132 in Cadillac.Residents may also reach Rep. Hoitenga by contacting her Lansing office at (517) 373-1747 or MicheleHoitenga@house.mi.gov.
Share21TweetShareEmail21 SharesDecember 10, 2105; Courthouse News ServiceNPQ has long been reporting on huge backlog of untested rape kits sitting at law enforcement agencies all over the country. The lack of funding and urgency to address this national scandal speaks volumes about the status of women in American society. Some localities have taken on the problem with meaningful levels of funding and creative new programs, but many others have done very little. It is a problem that merits a national response.Now, included in the $1.1 trillion spending bill agreed upon by Congress on Tuesday is $41 million to help localities process backlogged sexual-assault evidence kits. The money will fund a new Department of Justice program designed to help states and communities test their backlog of kits, estimated to exceed 100,000 nationally.Every untested kit poses a threat to public safety because it represents an unidentified perpetrator who has not yet been prosecuted and who could be victimizing others. Already last week, applications began pouring in to the Department of Justice seeking use of the resources.This issue has been pursued doggedly by the Joyful Heart Foundation, a nonprofit established by Law and Order: Special Victims Unit actress Mariska Harigtay in conjunction with other local and national advocates. — Ruth McCambridgeShare21TweetShareEmail21 Shares
Share20Tweet2ShareEmail22 SharesSAY NO TO FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION / Newtown grafittiFebruary 4, 2016; New York TimesWhile support for female genital mutilation, also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision (FGM/C) has been declining throughout the African and Asian countries where it has been concentrated, the practice itself appears to still be on the rise, according to a new study.Last week, UNICEF released the most comprehensive study yet on FGM/C, providing updated information on practicing countries and gleaning new information on countries, like Indonesia, where the number of women and girls being cut had apparently been underestimated.The report highlights dramatic shifts in countries like Egypt, where rates of FGM/C fell from 97 percent of all females ages 15–19 to 70 percent. Burkina Faso and Liberia, too, showed significant declines. The study also provides data from countries where previous data were unavailable, such as Iran and Iraq. However, while rates may be on a steady decline throughout the world, the formal addition of Indonesia to the list of countries practicing FGM/C provides a telling look into the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.To officials and activists following the rates of FGM/C, Indonesia’s inclusion on the list is not a surprise. It’s the extent of the practice that is revelatory. Based on the country’s own survey data from 2013, the United Nations Children’s Fund estimates that 60 million women and girls have undergone FGM/C. This was the first time Indonesia attempted to officially collect data on the practice.“We knew the practice existed, but we didn’t have a sense of the scope,” said Claudia Cappa, a statistics specialist for UNICEF.While there are certainly more extreme cases of FGM/C wherein the female clitoris is removed or the vulva sewn shut, the official description in Indonesia describes the procedure as “an act of scratching the skin that covers the front of the clitoris without injuring the clitoris.” This broad definition includes symbolic rituals with no actual cutting.Over the past several years, activists have charged the government with creating legal boundaries and barriers to the practice. Nevertheless, despite a 2006 law that banned it, Indonesian law has been unable to eliminate FGM/C as a religious practice. (For some, female circumcision is part of an interpretation of Islamic tradition where it’s considered necessary to purify and cleanse a woman before she can be married.) In opposition to the Ministry of Health’s 2006 document, the Indonesian Ulema Council, the top Muslim clerical body, issued a non-binding religious law, or fatwa, stating that FGM/C could and should be performed as long as no pain was exacted. Feeling pressure from Muslim clerics, the Ministry of Health issued a new document in 2010 that laid the groundwork for providing regulations for safer performance of FGM/C by licensed medical workers. Working within the government, anti-cutting activists passed a 2014 resolution that repealed the 2010 safer cutting regulations.Activists have stated their concerns that, even in the context of limiting risks, authorizing medical personnel to perform the procedure is a way to legitimize the practice. “We are very concerned with medicalization,” said Francesca Moneti, a child protection specialist with UNICEF. “Medical personnel are looked up to and are seen as knowing what’s good for your girl.”Cutting in all forms—symbolic, and those with more serious long-term consequences—continues. Because the 2014 resolution offers no consequences for performing FGM/C, and is without religious backing, the law offers little more than a stern warning. Until the social acceptability of FGM/C changes and personal views on the subject are made public, cutting will continue placing young women at risk.—Stacey Burton AlcocerShare20Tweet2ShareEmail22 Shares
Share29Tweet31Share7Email67 SharesDecember 11, 2017; Star Tribune (Associated Press) and Bloomberg NewsNPQ’s Cyndi Suarez recently published a feature describing the important but challenged status of Puerto Rico’s nonprofit sector, which has played a critical role in the island’s response to Hurricane Maria. She observed, “When the Puerto Rican government effectively shut down…nonprofits were the first responders, as they were already in place and knew the communities.” Yesterday, her assessment was reinforced by UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston, who was on the island last Monday to meet with storm victims and hear firsthand about the island’s attempts to rebound.His visit was prompted by the growing concern that almost three months since the Category 4 storm sept across the island, many parts remain almost as they were when the storm lifted.Alston told the Associated Press that…he’s trying to assess, among other things, the effectiveness of measures taken by the federal government after the storm hit on September 20th, killing dozens of people and destroying tens of thousands of homes. Ten of the island’s 78 municipalities are still without power, and thousands of businesses remain closed.“I’ve visited areas that are still completely without power. I’ve seen areas that have lots of damage that hasn’t been removed, and that must be very distressing after three months.”One bright spot Alston was ready to call out was the recovery work of Puerto Rico’s nonprofits.Alston said he was impressed how local nonprofit organizations have helped Puerto Ricans recover from the storm, adding that one of the challenges is how the government can harness their power. “There is more resiliency and potential self-sufficiency here than has been acknowledged.”The contribution of nonprofits is remarkable considering the island’s near-bankrupt financial status, which has lessened support for service organizations. As Suarez observes, “A mass migration of Puerto Ricans from the island to the US [has resulted] in an older population…the demand on direct service nonprofits has increased over this time, as they began to fill the vacuum left by the federal and local government. At the same time, funding to nonprofits has significantly decreased in response to fiscal austerities.” Under these conditions, what Alston highlights stands as strong tribute to the resilience and commitment of the island’s nonprofit sector.But, can it hold up over the coming months with so much yet to be done and funding still very strained? The island’s leadership has estimated it will need $94 billion in support for recovery efforts, yet only $44 billion was approved by Congress to support the necessary recovery work for all three major storms that devastated Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico this year. The difficulty will be worsened by a still-struggling local economy, provisions in the tax reform package that, if passed, will remove business incentives for investment, and the half-million island residents who are projected to relocate to cities on the mainland, leaving an even needier population behind.Further complicating the situation for the nonprofit community are for-profit entrepreneurs who think that nonprofit organizations have had their day and it is time for a business model to take their place. Bloomberg News recently described a working group of entrepreneurs who are applying this approach to the island’s problems. Jesse Levin, who had moved his new business to the island prior to the storm, wrote in a blog post,This is a call to arms. We are not often handed a chance to innovate and experiment on such a grand scale with so much incredible immediate need and impact potential. Stop blaming. Stop trying to accuse or fix the system and get working outside of it. The system may or may not catch up. If there is one thing Americans are good at, it’s being solution-focused and creative when there is a profit motive. In Puerto Rico, you get to have your cake and eat it too.In comments to Bloomberg News, he described how he sees his approach as incompatible with nonprofit organizations. “We’re all essentially against the traditional NGO model. They’re not sustainable. All the smart people who want to effect change are always begging for money. They implement solutions, but they’re dependent on fundraising. What happens when the money goes away? If you want to build sustainable, lasting capacity, it must come from the private sector. It’s OK if there’s a profit motive. That’s what makes the world go around, you know.”With the island’s political clout and resources limited in the Trump era, Suarez makes a prescient challenge: “Puerto Rico’s nonprofit sector must think practically about what it can set up for itself that helps it be more collectively than what it is as individual organizations. In addition to renegotiating its relationship with the government, it can build a robust local democracy that can change Puerto Rico from the bottom up.” With a pro-business mindset in Washington, competition from for-profit organizations is a real threat. If they are successful, the nonprofit infrastructure that was in place when the hurricane hit may be not be there when the next crisis hits, and no one will be better for that.We will stay tuned as Cyndi Suarez travels to Puerto Rico this weekend to check out the situation on the ground.—Martin LevineShare29Tweet31Share7Email67 Shares
Share14Tweet4ShareEmail18 SharesJune 20, 2018; Cable News Network (CNN) and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)“Recreational marijuana use will soon be legal in Canada,” reports Bani Sapra for CNN. The bill, which had already passed the House of Commons last November, passed the Senate on a 52–29 vote. Canada thus becomes the second nation in the world to legalize the drug. The first, Uruguay, legalized cultivation of the drug in December 2013, with sales legalized in 2017.The United States, of course, offers a state-by-state patchwork of laws. At present, nine states and the District of Columbia allow for recreational marijuana use, and 30 allow for medical use.Officially designated as C-45 or the Cannabis Act, the Canadian measure “stems from a campaign pledge of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep marijuana away from underage users and reduce related crime,” Sapra explains. While the measure is now law, Canadian provinces have been given a few months to set local regulations. The CBC reports that full legalization will occur on October 17, 2018. (Could make for some interesting Halloween parties, eh?)Under the bill’s provisions, adults can carry up to 30 grams (a little over one ounce) of marijuana in public. Adults can also grow up to four plants at home and prepare edibles for personal use. The bill sets a minimum age of 18 years to purchase marijuana (similar to tobacco), and makes the production, distribution, or sale of cannabis products an offense for minors.In terms of commercial regulation, Sapra says that, “Consumers are expected to purchase marijuana from retailers regulated by provinces, territories or—when neither of those options are available—federally licensed producers. Marijuana will also not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco.” The bill also adds driving laws that make it clear that driving under the influence of cannabis can be similarly regulated as driving under the influence of alcohol is.Of course, as has happened in US states that have legalized marijuana, the Canadian government expects to generate considerable revenue. With taxes set at an initial level of one dollar a gram (C$28 an ounce), CBC business reporter Don Pittis earlier this year estimated that the government could generate as much as CAN$2 billion in revenues from a combination of direct tax revenues and indirect (e.g., taxes on income) revenues.Might Canada’s action influence the US down the road? It has happened before. When Canada became the third nation in the world to legalize gay marriage nationally in 2005, the US was not quick to follow, but the Canadian action did encourage US activists—and, of course, a decade later, the right of US same-sex couples to marry was the law of the land.As for legalizing marijuana in the US, the picture is complicated. On the one hand, many more states have legalized marijuana in 2018 than had legalized gay marriage in 2005 (at that point, Massachusetts was the only one). On the other hand, the criminalization of marijuana is tied up with the defense of white supremacy in a way that the prohibition of gay marriage was not. As Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance notes, “The war on drugs has a long history of being a cover for racial injustice,” and the efforts this year by the current administration to increase federal prosecutions of marijuana offenses are a case in point. In short, although an estimated 61 percent of Americans favor legalization, a strong minority remains adamantly opposed.The racialized history of the “war on drugs” has been described in detail by Michelle Alexander and others and is hardly in doubt. Two years ago, speaking to Harper’s writer Dan Baum, former Nixon domestic policy advisor John Ehrlichman explained,You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or Black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and Blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.And while Nixon may seem like ancient history, the disproportionate impact continues to this day. For example, under current “progressive” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, 86 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession for the three-year 2014–2016 period—52,730 people total—were Black or Latinx, even though Black and Latinx residents were only 51 percent of city’s population and even though national surveys show whites to have higher usage rates.—Steve DubbShare14Tweet4ShareEmail18 Shares
Share27Tweet3ShareEmail30 SharesExcerpt from “Key Facts about Bail Bonds,” BailBondsNetwork.comJanuary 22, 2019; Wisconsin Public Radio and MinnPostOriginally, bail served as an incentive to encourage people to appear in court or forfeit the money. However, for many people, bail serves as a barrier to freedom and exoneration. In the United States, approximately 450,000 people per day (two-thirds of the national jail population) languish behind bars due to their inability to pay bail.If being in jail for being poor isn’t punishment enough, individuals often experience greater disruption in other areas of their lives—job loss, eviction, and child custody battles are often the result. Furthermore, to escape inhumane conditions, people are more likely to plead guilty to a crime. Outcomes are even grimmer for those fighting a case behind bars. According to research from the Vera Institute of Justice, “Low-risk defendants detained pretrial are four times more likely to receive a prison sentence and three times more likely to receive a longer sentence compared with those released pretrial, even controlling for demographics and case characteristics.”In response to this grave injustice, a growing network of charitable bail funds has begun to sprout up across the country. Founded in 2016, the National Bail Fund Network consists of over fifty community bail funds that use bail payment as part of a larger strategy to abolish money bail and pretrial detention. A newer initiative called The Bail Project aims to do similar work. In addition to paying bail, identifying clients, and supporting defendants through the legal process, the organization intends to establish 40 new sites nationwide and pay bail for 160,000 people within the next five years. The Bail Project expects to scale rapidly with financial support from the Audacious Project, a $400 million fund managed by TED.While such highly visible groups as the Philadelphia Eagles have made sizable contributions to bail funds recently, funding largely comes from grassroot efforts. Most recently, activists Kelly Hayes and Mariame Kaba, visible leaders in the prison abolition movement, spearheaded #FreeThePeopleDay a grassroots fundraising campaign on Twitter. Supporters were asked to donate the price of one drink on New Year’s Eve to a local community bail fund. In just one day, over $233,000 was raised for bail funds across the country, allowing hundreds of people to be released and reconnected with their families in the new year.Wisconsin is the latest to formally join the Bail Fund network.Launched in August 2017, Free the 350 Bail Fund (FT350BF) primarily serves African American residents of Dane County (county seat: Madison) and has garnered support from many local progressive organizations, including Freedom Inc., Madison-Area Urban Ministry, Operation Welcome Home, Sankofa Behavioral Community Health, Madison General Defense Committee of the IWW, LGBT Books To Prisoners, and the National Lawyers Guild.According to Jessica Williams, justice director of Freedom Inc., since last June the group has successfully worked to get nine people released on bail prior to their trials. According to the Vera Institute, Wisconsin has the 18th-lowest pretrial incarceration rate in the country. And while this would be viewed as successful in comparison to other states, glaring racial disparities show otherwise. In Dane County, African Americans comprise only five percent of the population but make up 48 percent of the incarcerated. FT350BF derives its name from this fact. In order to eliminate racial disparities in pre-trial detention, roughly 350 people would need to be released per day from Dale County Jail. While the group would like to pay bail for more people, the need exceeds their resources at this time.Hopefully, upcoming bail reform may assist FT350BF in meeting its goal. Later this month, a state legislative study committee will begin reviewing proposals that would possibly reduce or eliminate bail as a requirement for release. Bail funds are only one tactic in a larger effort to end mass incarceration and organizers hope that Wisconsin’s pending bail reform will lead it to cease to exist. Robin Steinberg, cofounder of the Bail Project notes, “[Community bail funds are] designed to keep people out of jail who don’t belong there in the first place. If we get really, really lucky, I would hope reforms would put us out of business within the next five years, but it’s going to take a lot longer.”—Chelsea DennisShare27Tweet3ShareEmail30 Shares
French service provider Bouygues Telecom is to launch the next generation of its Bbox, the Bbox Sensation, in the spring.Bouygues has developed the device internally, in partnership with Samsung. The fibre version will combine a gateway and TV set-top in a single box, while an ADSL version will be available in a dual-box solution.The box will include a 320GB hard drive, four GbE and five USB ports and an SD card reader. The device will be powered by the Intel Atom CE4200 ‘Groveland’ processor, enabling it perform multiple tasks simultaneously. The box includes Celeno’s new OptimizAir Wi-Fi technology, which it says will enable the delivery of up to four HD services via Wi-Fi around the home.Bouygues has developed a new 3D UI for the box, and has teamed up with Playcast to deliver cloud-based games, as reported in DTVE Daily yesterday.The telco has also developed a TV guide optimised for iOS and Android tablets, with integrated access to social networks including Facebook and Twitter. A downloadable Media Center Bbox application allows users to access multimedia content stored on hard disks, USB keys and computers in the household and send them to the TV screen.The Bbox service will also include access to a wide range of on-demand content from Hollywood Studios as well as TF1’s MyTF1VOD service.
Red Arrow Entertainment, the global producer owned by German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Group, is ramping up its international presence with the acquisition of two production companies, one from Britain and one from Israel.The company, which is run by Jan Frouman, has acquired a majority stake in British indie Nerd and Israeli producer July August Productions. Nerd was founded by former Tiger Aspect executives Jago Lee and John Farrar and produces factual entertainment and factual formats for the UK and international markets. The company was originally set up with investment by Survivor and The Word creator Charlie Parsons. Red Arrow UK managing directors Joel Denton and James Baker will oversee Nerd´s future plans with Baker taking over as chairman of the company.July August Productions, meanwhile, was set up by Lisa Shiloach and Eilon Ratzkovsky, and produces series including gameshow Still Standing and Keshet drama The A Word. These acquisitions means that the group now comprises of 17 international production companies including CPL Productions, Kinetic Content, Granada Media Australia and Sultan Sushi.
Georgian mobile and telecommunication company MagtiCom signed an agreement with satellite operator SES for a fourth transponder at the Astra 31.5 degrees East orbital position after the first year of operations of MagtiSat, Georgia’s first domestic DTH satellite platform.MagtiSat will use the four transponders to offer up to 100 popular Georgian and foreign digital TV channels, including HD channels, to its 40,000 customers throughout the country. The operator is broadcasting in DVB-S2 standard and using MPEG-4 encoding.Lars P Reichelt, general director for MagtiCom, said, “Our goal is to provide Georgian customers with world-class satellite TV across the country. MagtiSat is now firmly entrenched in the TV landscape of Georgia and we are delighted by the excellent customer feedback. MagtiSat has helped accelerate Georgia’s switchover to digital TV broadcasting.”
A new Middle East-based on-demand service has scored deals with Hollywood studios, Arabic content houses and Bollywood film providers ahead of its launch in June, DTVE’s sister publication TBI has learned.Dubai-headquartered icflix will be a hybrid SVOD/TVOD service launching across platforms in the Middle East and North Africa, and will also target Arabic ex-pats around the world. Sources at MIPTV dubbed it “the Middle East’s answer to Netflix” and it is understood to be the first of its kind within the region.icflix was in Cannes last week finalising content agreements with major US studios. Including international and indie titles, it will have about 7,500 hours of internationally-acquired content.“We’ve been talking to all the major Hollywood studios over several months and we’re in final signature stage with a majority of them,” icflix’s CEO, Carlos Tibi, told TBI.MENA has no equivalent VOD platform, and the key video streaming companies are yet to reach the region. With the absence of professional players, piracy has become rife, Tibi said. The opportunity to combat illegal downloading offered to both his company and its content partners “a huge opportunity”, as most consumers in the region were keen to find legal alternatives.“The value for them [especially the US studios] is minimising piracy across the region and seeing returns on their content by making it affordable to consumers,” he added.The second facet to the model is what Tibi has coined ‘Jazwood’ content – Arabic movies and features (the word comes from the compound of ‘Al Jazeera’ and ‘Hollywood’). The company has secured close to 35,000 hours of Arabic-produced content from the likes of Rotana, ERTU and Arabic Radio & Television, which will be offered regionally and to Arabic ex-pats around the globe.Much of these libraries has never been digitised, which lead icflix to launch an office in Egypt to update and “in some cases” improve the tapes, said Tibi.Mahmoud Elbatt, regional marketing manager at ART said this month icflix offered “a new way” to deliver content, and would “transform the way people in this region view content”.Pricing has not yet been decided but it will be “affordable to mid-to-low income households”. All library content will be available for a monthly subscription charge of around US$10 (€7.60) a month and will include US movies from the mid-90s to the late 2000s, while newer titles “just out of the cinemas” will offered on a transactional basis for around US$4-6 per film.Tibi, whose background is in the Arabic technology and media markets, is one of three partners in the privately-held business, along with chairman Fadi Mehio (pictured top), a business with a background in architecture; and managing partner Joy Ghoussoub. The company has been approached by outside investors but the controlling partners have rejected the advances, said Tibi.
YouTube has updated its app for Microsoft’s Xbox One games console, making it easier for users to upload their gaming footage to the video site. YouTube said Xbox One gamers can now upload gameplay from their game DVR to their YouTube channel in just two clicks.YouTube added it now supports ‘Xbox One Snap Mode,’ which means users can minimise and move the YouTube app into the corner of the screen, keeping it running while doing something else on the main part of the screen.