The ballot measures to be decided on Nov. 6 would allow adults to possess small amounts of pot under a regimen of state regulation and taxation. Polls have shown tight races in Washington and Colorado, with Washington’s measure appearing to have the best chance of passing. Oregon’s measure, which would impose the fewest regulations, does not appear likely to pass.The study by the Mexican Competitiveness Institute, “If Our Neighbors Legalize,” assumes that legalization in any state would allow growers there to produce marijuana relatively cheaply and create an illicit flow to other states, where the drug could be made available at cheaper prices and higher quality than Mexican marijuana smuggled across the international border.The report, based on previous studies by U.S. experts including those at the RAND Corporation, assumes that Mexican cartels earn more than $6 billion a year from drug smuggling to the U.S.It calculates the hypothetical, post-legalization price of marijuana produced in Oregon, Washington and Colorado and sold within those states and smuggled to other states. It then assumes that purchasers around the U.S. will choose domestic marijuana when it is sold cheaper than the current price of Mexican marijuana. That choice will lead to a loss of $1.425 billion to the cartels if Colorado legalizes, $1.372 billion if Washington approves the ballot measure, and $1.839 billion if Oregon votes yes, the study says. 0 Comments Share Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day A post-legalization federal crackdown could make domestically grown marijuana uncompetitive with Mexican pot in many states, he said, meaning cartels would see less of a cut in profits.“Diversion is a problem we’ll continue to have to monitor,” said Alison Holcomb, campaign manager with New Approach Washington, the group pushing Washington state’s legalization measure. “But the question is to the extent that is happening, is it better that the money is going to licensed, regulated businesses instead of going to Mexico?”A RAND study of a proposal to legalize marijuana in California in 2010 asserted that could cut cartel drug income by 20 percent.____Wyatt contributed from Denver.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) It only looks at the effects of legalization in individual states, and does not calculate what would happen if more than one legalized marijuana.Opponents of the ballot measures said the study bolsters one of their principal objections, that it will turn any state with legal marijuana into a producer for the rest of the country.They said, however, that they did not believe that production will rob the cartels of significant profits, saying instead that they thought Mexican drug lords would instead try to participate in legal production inside the U.S.“If I were a cartel member and I knew Colorado and Washington had it legal, I’d get a couple front people and do my business out of those states. Why would I not?” said Thomas J. Gorman, head of the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a government agency that coordinates anti-drug efforts by local, state and federal agencies in four Western states.The Mexican government has said that drug legalization in some U.S. states could make it harder to prosecute growers and dealers in Mexico, because they would be producing a product potentially destined for a place where it is legal.Alejandro Hope, an author of the study and a former high-ranking officer in Mexico’s domestic intelligence service, acknowledged that the study made a series of assumptions that may not be prove to be true, including the assumption that the U.S. federal government would not aggressively investigate and prosecute movement of marijuana out of a state where it’s legal. Top Stories How men can have a healthy 2019 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Associated PressMEXICO CITY (AP) – A study released Wednesday by a respected Mexican think tank asserts that proposals to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado, Oregon and Washington could cut Mexican drug cartels’ earnings from traffic to the U.S. by as much as 30 percent.Opponents questioned some of the study’s assumptions, saying the proposals could also offer new opportunities for cartels to operate inside the U.S. and replace any profit lost to a drop in international smuggling. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement
Consolidating its position in the Middle-East market, IndiGo has announced Sharjah as its 6th new international destination. Effective from March, the airline would operate its new daily non-stop flights between Sharjah-Kozhikode, with plans to operate one daily non-stop flight between Sharjah-Thiruvananthapuram from April 2017.The new flights have been designed to cater to the business and leisure travellers who are constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options.Sanjay Kumar, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo, said, “We are extremely pleased to expand our international network with Sharjah. Middle-East has been an important market for IndiGo. With rising business and tourism stemming from the Gulf market, IndiGo is determined to provide the best travel experience to all those who wish to fly these destinations.”
cruiseHalong Bayindustry discountsIndustry rates Halong Bay’s Paradise Cruises has just launched 2018 industry rates for three cruises, starting from USD$228 (around AUD$285) for a single cabin on a 2 day/1-night cruise on Paradise Elegance, which launched in March 2017.The sophisticated Paradise Luxury has industry rates from USD$286 (around AUD$355) for a single cabin, and boasts an expansive sundeck filled with sun beds and comfy lounge areas. Paradise Prestige, which will debut this October, is offering industry rates from USD$650 (around AUD$810)for a 3-day/2-night cruise. Prestige is a beautifully-appointed wooden junk with modern amenities and the cruise includes food and beverages and a daily 50-minute spa treatment.To book an industry rate on any of the Paradise Cruises send an email to Complete Travel Marketing, Paradise Cruises’ reps in Australia and New Zealand – firstname.lastname@example.orgIMAGE: Paradise Luxury
19Mar Reps. Afendoulis, VerHeulen to host Senior Brigade Day State Reps. Chris Afendoulis and Rob VerHeulen today announced they will host a Senior Brigade Day to inform local seniors and their caretakers about different types of scams and how to protect against them.The event will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 27, at the Rockford Community Cabin, located at 220 N. Monroe St. in Rockford. Reps. Afendoulis and VerHeulen will be joined by Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford.“Unfortunately, seniors are all too often the main target of fraud and scam artists,” said Rep. Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Township. “It’s important that we are all educated on the matter so that we can protect our family, friends and loved ones against dishonest behavior.”The Senior Brigade Initiative is designed to assist and inform seniors on financial and health care decisions and protect them against scam artists and other predators. A representative from the Attorney General’s Office will be in attendance to give the presentation.“Identity scams are avoidable and can be recognized if we teach people what to look for and what questions to ask,” said Rep. VerHeulen, R-Walker. “I am confident that these presentations will give our seniors more knowledge about these criminals so they can better protect themselves.”The west Michigan representatives said all seniors and their caregivers are welcome to attend and they look forward to meeting with the community on this important issue.For more information or to RSVP, contact Rep. Afendoulis’ office by phone at 517-373-0218 or via email at ChrisAfendoulis@house.mi.gov.### Categories: Afendoulis News,VerHeulen News
Legislator says debt forgiveness part of bipartisan measures Legislation introduced by state Rep. Lee Chatfield to bring an end to driver responsibility fees today was approved by the Michigan House of Representatives.Chatfield, of Levering, is author of the lead bill in an eight-bill legislative package that ends collection of driver responsibility fees on Oct. 1, 2018. The legislation provides complete forgiveness of debt after that time, and allows people to perform community service or workforce development programs in lieu of payments until the fees are eliminated.“I am pleased to have passed this legislation through the Michigan Competitiveness Committee and the House because it will have an immediate, and life-changing, effect on so many families in northern Michigan,” Chatfield said. “Not only will this lift the burden of paying these senseless fees that were conceived by a past administration looking for a quick fix to a budget hole, it will also enable people to regain driving privileges and improve their quality of life.”Chatfield, who chairs the committee that took testimony on the bills, said one of the key elements to the package is total forgiveness of debt. He said the fees often affected low-income earners who were unable to get to and from work, forcing them to depend on public assistance.“Most of the outstanding debt is more than six years old, and it is highly unlikely it would ever be collectable,” said Chatfield, who also serves as Speaker Pro Tempore. “We have budgeted responsibly during the past seven budget cycles and can absorb the debt as a result. This legislation will clear the books over this failed experiment that affected so many families.”The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.#####The bills are House Bills 5040-5046, 5079 and 5080. 02Nov Rep. Chatfield’s bill to end flawed driver responsibility fees wins House approval Categories: Chatfield News,News
Historic car insurance reform supported by Rep. Sarah Lightner was signed into state law today, lowering costs for all Michigan drivers once the law is officially enacted.The reforms – approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor – give drivers options on personal injury protection coverage, combat fraudulent claims and stop price gouging on medical services for car accident victims. Once enacted, many Michigan families will see significant savings each year as a result.Michigan has had the most expensive car insurance in the nation largely due to the mandated unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance, with no corresponding cap on what medical providers may charge accident victims. The revised law will provide more affordable options for motorists while allowing those who currently use the unlimited coverage to keep it, as well as those who want it in the future to continue buying it.“I have heard many concerns from people about reducing car insurance rates, and this solution will help bring down the extraordinarily high cost to drive in Michigan,” said Lightner, of Springport. “This long overdue reform will guarantee savings for Michigan drivers, finally delivering the rate relief they deserve.”Beginning in July 2020, many drivers will be able to opt out of personal injury protection altogether, including seniors with retiree health coverage such as Medicare and those with health insurance policies that cover car accident-related injuries. Others will be able to continue with unlimited coverage or choose PIP limits of $250,000 or $500,000. A $50,000 option will be available for drivers on Medicaid.Other reforms include:· Eliminating non-driving factors in rate setting, such as ZIP codes, home ownership and educational level.· Establishing an anti-fraud unit that will help crack down on those abusing the system.· Implementing a fee schedule, phased in over three years for medical providers, reining in runaway costs that result from medical care providers charging far more to treat car accident victims than other patients.· Transparency and accountability within the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association Fund, providing that drivers see rebates if the fund is seeing large surpluses.##### Categories: Lightner News 30May Rep. Lightner: Michigan no-fault reform signed into law
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 12, 2014; Washington Post Congratulations to Rama Lakshmi and her editors at the Washington Post for their thorough analysis of the other side of the case involving the Indian diplomat who was arrested in the U.S. for the mistreatment of her nanny or housekeeper (by which we mean paying insufficient wages and requiring work of 90 to 100 hours a week, the equivalent of $1.32 to $1.46 an hour in pay). The U.S. press has generally focused on the salacious part of the story, the strip-searching of diplomat Devyani Khobragade by New York City police, and the diplomatic back-and-forth between the U.S. and Indian governments, but with almost no attention to the situation of the nanny herself, Sangeeta Richard, or the conditions of domestic workers in India and much of Asia.Human Rights Watch reports that 40 percent of the world’s 53 million domestic workers are employed in Asia where the employees “frequently experience physical, psychological and sexual abuse.” Lakshmi’s article describes the horrible conditions of domestic workers in India, who typically are paid very low wages and have few or any legal protections concerning their labor conditions, such as working hours and time off. She retells gruesome examples of abuse, such as an Indian federal lawmaker arrested on charges of torturing a domestic worker to death and an Indian airline steward who locked her underage maid in her home whenever she went to work. Many domestic workers in India, the exact number unknown, have been victims of human trafficking. A children’s rights group in India, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement), has been pressing the Indian government for improved legal protections for domestic workers, but the Indian government hasn’t acted yet. In fact, following the Khobragade arrest and indictment, the Foreign Minister of India proposed that Indian maids accompanying diplomats overseas should be designated as government workers to avoid being covered by the minimum wage and working condition laws that got Khobragade arrested. The Indian government has upgraded Khobragade’s diplomatic status, moving her to a post at the United Nations, thus giving her full diplomatic immunity and ensuring that she will not be subject to further U.S. prosecution.But what about Richard? She may be without options—or worse. The national secretary of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Bhuwan Ribhu, said, “I have never heard of anybody being arrested and going to jail in India for not paying minimum wages to a worker.” Khobragade’s attorney actually charged that Richard tried to blackmail his client, and at Khrobragade’s request, the Indian government filed charges against Richard and her husband for breach of contract and illegally obtaining a passport with the intention of emigrating to the U.S. (which Richard denies). Because of harassing actions against Richard’s family, the U.S. government flew her husband and children to the U.S. for their own protection and to avoid pressure from the Indian authorities for Richard to return for likely prosecution.Remember where the New York standards for domestic workers came from. In 2010, New York State enacted a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights statute that called for: The right to overtime pay at time-and-a-half after 40 hours of work in a week, or 44 hours for workers who live in their employer’s home;A day of rest (24 hours) every seven days, or overtime pay if they agree to work on that day;Three paid days of rest each year after one year of work for the same employer; andProtection under New York State Human Rights Law, and the creation of a special cause of action for domestic workers who suffer sexual or racial harassment.Among the nonprofits that played pivotal roles in passing this law was the National Domestic Workers Alliance, led by Ai-Jen Poo, who has been featured in NPQ articles for her domestic workers organizing and her broader vision of community organizing and activism.The arrest of Khobragade, even if she will not be jailed, and the Indian government’s plan to treat all domestic workers assigned to their diplomats posted in the U.S. as government employees, rather than private workers with A3 visas, makes this incident more than a minimum wage and hours case. It would appear that this is nothing less than human trafficking, compelling domestic workers employed by Indian diplomats to work like indentured servants or slaves—and there are 14 additional cases concerning Indian diplomats and their maids and nannies currently being investigated by U.S. authorities, according to the International Business Times. Khobragade is from a family of Dalits (once known as the “untouchable” caste) and is actually known in India as an advocate for the rights of both Dalits and women. As so often happens, it appears that she was attentive to the inchoate rights of a broad stratum of poor women, but not for the woman who she personally employed to take care of her children and house.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares August 8, 2014; Asheville Citizen-TimesWriting for the Citizen-Times, John Boyle describes a noteworthy growth in the nonprofit NAACP network in Western North Carolina. The growth is in NAACP chapters—five new ones in the past year alone—and in membership. The new members of the NAACP in this region are largely white, reflecting the five counties’ 95.7 percent white demographic.Some of the growth may be attributed to the visibility of the NAACP’s “Moral Monday” protests, initiated in 2013 under the leadership of Dr. William Barber II, the president of the NC State Conference of the NAACP, against an array of conservative policies and legislation promoted by North Carolina’s Republican legislature and its governor, Pat McCrory.Activists characterize the increasing numbers of whites in the NAACP programs as “fusion,” defined as “when multiple races and groups of people come together with a common goal.” That isn’t really new in the history of the NAACP, which has always had members from all races. But the historic focus of the organization was racial equality. Now, according to John Hayes, the president of the Asheville branch of the NAACP, the issue “has no color except green…It’s the haves and have-nots.”While no one in Boyle’s article dismisses the continuing presence of racial issues, a retired political science professor from UNC Asheville suggested that “much of the institutional discrimination and racism the NAACP fought in the 20th century has been addressed, in part through the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act,” though he acknowledged that “de facto discrimination” has not been eradicated by these laws.It is a challenging issue for nonprofits: Should they focus on economic disparities or racial disparities, and if they focus on economic (or class) disparities, do issues of race and racism get lost and papered over?There is no debating that any socio-economic or class mobility in the United States is increasingly being revealed as a myth. For example, a very recent study by Johns Hopkins University sociologist Karl Alexander that tracked 800 children in Baltimore from first-grade through their early twenties showed that only four percent moved from low-income to high-income income brackets and a small proportion of the poor children had obtained college degrees by the time they turned 28. Alexander’s research showed, however, the degree to which racial issues exacerbated the disparities in the study. For example, affluent whites had much higher rates of “problem behaviors” such as heavy drinking and heavy drug use, but those whites still showed much higher rates of upward mobility than others, particularly African-Americans, in the study.Another study from Stanford University, examining racial inequities in criminal justice, an issue much discussed in the literature and the press, yielded a surprising finding: “Many legal advocates and social activists seem to assume that bombarding the public with images, statistics and other evidence of racial disparities will motivate people to join the cause and fight inequality,” said Stanford researcher Rebecca Hetey. “But we found that, ironically, exposure to extreme racial disparities may make the public less, and not more, responsive to attempts to lessen the severity of policies that help maintain those disparities.”Perhaps adding to the phenomenon, a Blair-Rockefeller poll in 2010 revealed what Allen University history professor Christopher Rounds characterized as “a possible Political Correctness fatigue,” in that more than half of the whites in the poll believed that “too much attention is being paid to race and racial issues.” Laws such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act may provide some persons with the means of redress against otherwise lawful racial segregation, but they may not undo the institutional racism ingrained into the policies and practices of institutions such as the criminal justice system and the educational system. Moreover, institutional racism may be maintained and protected by what Rounds describes as the “rise of casual racism in the era of Obama.”—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share107TweetShareEmail107 SharesJuly 20, 2015; Christian Science MonitorThe stars of the “new economy,” the ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft, have become causes of controversy regarding their non-employee treatment of employees, lately entering the political realm with Hillary Clinton’s call for stronger employee benefits at sharing-economy companies and Marco Rubio’s response that Clinton was trying to regulate 21st-century commerce with 20th-century ideas.There is also, however, the question of how Uber and Lyft treat some of their customers, especially in light of this week’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Massachusetts, the attorney general’s office is investigating the two ride-sharing companies to determine whether they are ensuring equal access for persons with disabilities.While disability rights activists have challenged the two companies about the access they do or don’t provide to persons who are blind or in wheelchairs, including a federal case filed last year by the National Federation of the Blind of California that challenged Uber on providing access to passengers with guide dogs and another in Texas suing Lyft about wheelchair access in Austin, this investigation seems to be the first launched by a state attorney general.In response to the burgeoning criticisms, Uber has said it has some sort of compact with the National Federation of the Blind to seek feedback from visually impaired people and a program called uberASSIST to provide assistance to elderly passengers and persons with disabilities.The Boston Globe reports stories of Uber drivers rejecting passengers with disabilities, including one instance where an Uber driver refused to give a ride to a woman with a disability, calling her an “invalid” in the process. Although currently favoring dialogue with the companies rather than pursuing legal action, disability rights activists are nonetheless not hopeful that the talks will be productive.“They make the same vague promises—they say they want to meet the demand of the disabled community, but they’re not meeting the demand,” Disability Law Center executive director Christine Griffin said. “There should be a penalty. They’re acting like they’re just coming into the market, but of course they’ve been around a long time now.”The ability to engage Uber and Lyft in this way is one of the achievements of the ADA. As a result of that landmark legislation, companies that serve the public like Uber and Lyft are subject to ADA-inspired scrutiny, no matter what Marco Rubio thinks about laws that happen to have been enacted before 2000.Despite Uber’s own initiatives, the AG’s investigation has prompted both companies to come to the table. The Boston-based Disability Law Center reports that Uber has agreed to meet with leaders of the disability rights community, and both companies have indicated that they plan to meet with AG Maura Healey. However, an Uber spokesperson said earlier this week that it believed it was subject to ADA regulation only as a technology company, not as a provider of transportation. Implicitly, it goes back to Uber’s employment rules: It may, for example, be willing to make its smartphone app compatible with speech-to-text functions, but the issue of specific wheelchair access to Uber-sent cars may be the legal responsibility of the contract drivers, not the company. The core of Uber’s structure, defensible or not, is the company’s contracting with so-called “independent” non-employee drivers.Despite Rubio’s contention, this is really a question of whether the achievements of the civil rights movement will be applied to the sharing economy. Fortunately, due to the ADA, Uber and Lyft will have to answer some hard questions about how they accommodate persons with disabilities, no matter how much they wrap themselves in the garb of 21st-century technology.—Rick CohenShare107TweetShareEmail107 Shares
Share6Tweet6ShareEmail12 SharesBy U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region [CC BY 2.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 7, 2018; Washington PostAs you begin your search for your first new home, or a car (new or used) that you will be making payments on, or a replacement for the washing machine that makes strange noises every time you use it, you’ll want to research your upcoming purchase. But will you also be able to do research on those who will be lending you the funds to make those purchases, and know that your rights as a consumer will be guaranteed? Going online to the ratings of organizations such as Consumer Reports to find the “best of the best” may point you in the right direction, but according to the Washington Post, under the Trump administration and the regulators he has appointed, there will be far fewer protections in place for the ordinary consumer.NPQ addressed one aspect of this roll back of regulations in an article in December of 2017 on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and the rollback of its work as the Trump administration assumed leadership and brought much of its work to a halt. Since November 2017, when Mick Mulvaney assumed leadership, no consumer protection actions have moved forward from this agency. And the ripple effect has moved from one federal agency to another. The Labor Department has slowed implementation of a rule that would require financial advisors to act in the best interest of their clients. The Education Department has received much press for its withdrawal of protections for student borrowers.The new approach—welcomed by banks and business leaders—has alarmed consumer advocates who fear it gives an advantage to Wall Street and other powerful industries while leaving ordinary Americans more susceptible to fraud, discrimination and predatory lending.“There hasn’t been a lot that has been methodical about this presidency, but I do think Trump is systematically dismantling consumer protections,” said Mark Totten, a Michigan State University law professor who studies the enforcement of consumer protection laws and a 2014 Democratic candidate for Michigan attorney general.The new direction affects agencies that touch nearly every aspect of consumer life, advocates say—from how Americans access credit and car loans to the safety of cribs and cellphones.The thinking behind this approach, advanced by Wall Street, big industry, and the Trump administration, is the philosophy of everyone making decisions as individuals.“For too long, the guise of consumer protection has been used to benefit trial lawyers, government bureaucracies, and ambitious politicians looking for their next job,” Lindsay Walters, deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement. “The Trump administration has put the focus of consumer protection back where it belongs: on protecting consumers and enabling them to make better decisions for themselves.”Trump proclaimed March 4–10 as “National Consumer Protection Week,” saying it is “an opportunity for Americans to learn about their consumer rights” so they can better protect themselves from predatory practices, identity theft and fraud.As regulations are rolled back on the finance industry, including payday loan companies charging as much as 950 percent and banks who hold student loans for students defrauded by for-profit colleges, it may be up to the consumer as an individual to take action on their behalf if they feel they are wronged. Under this administration, they cannot count on the government to “go to bat” on their behalf. As NPQ said in December 2017: “If you were counting on someone, somewhere in government to watch out for you and your finances, that agency may now be a thing of the past.”The takeaways for the nonprofit community are many. As consumer protections fade in the finance industry, nonprofits helping clients, particularly those most likely to be victims of predatory practices and fraud, understand that what they are dealing with may become a priority service. As consumer rights are seen only as individual rights, helping clients learn from one another’s experiences may provide useful guidance. Agencies and organizations may find new ways to collaborate and share both information and actions in order to protect and support those who will find themselves caught in the morass of deregulation and lack of consumer protection. Who knows? The mantra “buyer beware” may become a part of the nonprofit mission.—Carole LevineShare6Tweet6ShareEmail12 Shares
Share6Tweet30ShareEmail36 SharesBy Milliped [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia CommonsMay 18, 2018; CruxSince the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church broke in 2004, the Vatican has struggled with how to respond. This week, Pope Francis was given an opportunity to set a clear example of moral leadership when 34 bishops, representing the entire bishopric of Chile, offered to resign en masse.The statement from the bishops, three of whom are retired, said that they placed their futures “in the hands of the Holy Father so that he might freely decide for each one of us.”Chile is in the spotlight at the moment because of a recent investigation into the behavior of Bishop Juan Barros, whom Francis promoted in 2015. Bishop Barros has been accused of covering up for his mentor Father Fernando Karadima, who had been found guilty of sexually abusing minors. The Pope initially defended Barros, but later admitted this was a “grave error.” Two priests were sent to Chile to interview victims, and they returned with a 2,300-page report, prompting Francis to invite the Chilean bishops to the Vatican for a “frank discernment regarding the serious events which have damaged the ecclesial communion and undermined the work of the Church in Chile in recent years.”Juan Carlos Cruz, one of the abuse victims, wrote to Francis in 2015, saying, “Please Holy Father, don’t be like the others. There are so many of us who despite everything think that you can do something. I treasure my faith, it’s what sustains me, but it is slipping away from me.”The pope accused the Chilean bishops of “grave negligence” and of not having the “mettle to assume as a body this reality in which we are all involved, first of all myself, and that no one can be exempted from by putting the problem on someone else’s shoulders.”Inés San Martín writes in the Catholic outlet Crux,[Francis] also writes of being “perplexed and shamed” by witnesses who testified that those responsible for the criminal process were pressured from above and that compromising documents were destroyed, which shows a complete disregard of the canonical process.This behavior, destroying evidence and suppressing reports, categorized the Church’s response to the sex scandal from the start, and magnified the problem even beyond the immediate crimes. Even Francis has been accused of having a “blind spot” when it comes to sexual abuse. Ross Douthat wrote in 2015,The reason the sex abuse issue was a crisis for the church rather than just a scandal was that it exposed systemic failures of governance within the Catholic hierarchy, systemic culpability on the part of the episcopate, and neither Rome nor the bishops themselves seemed to have any kind of response that wasn’t ad hoc, situational, and self-protective.James E. Post reported for NPQ in 2004,The Church’s own research, published in 2004, confirmed that credible allegations of sexual abuse were filed against 4,399 priests over several decades. Across the country, more than 10,000 victims of abuse were identified in church records. These data are likely underreported according to the researchers, painting a picture of widespread abuse that is dark and forbidding.Francis has responded more compassionately to the crisis than his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, but victims still have not yet seen major, decisive action on the Church’s part to acknowledge the extent of the problem. Tara Isabella Burton wrote that the Chilean bishops’ offer of resignation is “unprecedented” and “the most significant formal acceptance of responsibility for abuse by members of the church hierarchy anywhere in the world.”As of now, it’s unclear what will happen to the bishops, or whether Francis will even accept their resignations. Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register predicts that the four bishops who made up Karadima’s inner circle and presumably knew about the abuse will be allowed to resign, and the rest will remain in their posts. The bishops wrote in their letter that if their resignations were not accepted, they would continue to help repair the damage and do pastoral work in the church. Pentin said that a senior Church figure “cautioned that the events of today could pose serious problems for episcopacies worldwide if whole bishops’ conference were similarly ‘told to pack their bags and go.’” Patsy McGarry at the Irish Times reports that former president Mary McAleese said the Irish bishops considered a similar move, though ultimately only a few men resigned. It’s hard to deny there would be a huge logistical problem if an entire layer of the Church hierarchy were to resign at once.But that matter of practical inconvenience pales in comparison to the opportunity Pope Francis has to make a meaningful gesture of responsibility to the victims. Some of his statements indicate that he recognizes this; he wrote that removing those in authority “must be done, but it’s not enough, we must go further.” That’s encouraging, but it’s vague, and he has not yet informed the public whether he will accept the bishops’ resignation.José Andrés Murillo, another victim, said Pope Francis should accept the offer because “they all deserve to go.”—Erin RubinShare6Tweet30ShareEmail36 Shares
Share448TweetShareEmail448 Shares“A participant in the Greater Than Fear Rally & March in Rochester, Minnesota,” Lorie ShaullNovember 14, 2018; Associated PressAn alarming number of Indigenous women and girls disappear or are murdered each year. The absence of consistent, standardized reporting on the issue has prevented researchers from gaining a true understanding of the problem. However, a new report released by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI), a tribal epidemiology center, aims to shed light on the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).Entitled “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” the report identified 506 cases across 71 cities. The cities included in the report were selected based on whether there was a significant population of urban American Indians, a large number of MMIWG cases, or an urban American Indian health center affiliated with UIHI.Researchers Annita Lucchesi and Abigail Echo-Hawk assert that the number likely represents an undercount, given the amount of data that seems to be missing. While the institute requested records spanning from 1900 to the present, two-thirds of the cases included in the report occurred between 2010 and 2018, with the earliest case documented in 1943.While the researchers consider their findings a snapshot of the true scope, their findings fill a critical gap in knowledge. Prior to UIHI’s report, most research focused on reservations despite census data showing that the majority of Native American and Alaska Native people reside in cities. By targeting urban areas, the organization was able to highlight how poor data collection, lack of persecution, and institutional racism are factors that also occur off reservations as well.The report was released on the heels of growing national attention and pending legislation at the state and federal level. Earlier this year, NPQ covered Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women Washington’s role in coordination of the anniversary Women’s March in Seattle. In June, Washington state passed legislation mandating the collection and analysis of data on MMIWG throughout the state by June 2019. And, last Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs voted to send Savanna’s Act to full chamber for consideration.The bill is intended to improve data collection, including requiring annual reporting on the number of MMIWGs, establishing guidelines for handling the cases of missing Indigenous people, and expanding tribal access to federal crime databases. However, as Lucchesi and Echo-Hawk point out, the bill is not expansive enough to aggregate the data needed to create sound policy and to protect Native women and girls living in urban areas. Currently, the bill would set reporting mandates for federal law enforcement but not urban areas and municipalities. The exclusion of urban areas from the act means that MMIWG, including Savanna LaFontaine-Greybird, after whom the bill is named, would not be included in data collection efforts. Furthermore, failure to include urban areas in reporting would allow violence against this vulnerable population to continue.Just as important to the study were the significant challenges encountered while attempting to obtain case records. Nearly half of municipal police departments failed to respond at all or within the designated time frame required of public disclosure requests. Additionally, racial misclassification was common, with some victims classified as “white” (the default when race is unknown) or “Hispanic” [sic]. Often, Native women and girls from tribes that are not federally recognized were not identified as Native at all. Despite race typically being used as a classifier when crimes are reported, nine cities were unable to identify Native American, Alaska Native, or American Indian people in their database.In some cases, agencies provided incomplete or confusing records. For instance, in Seattle, UIHI received an updated list after the homicide unit discovered that the letter “N” was used for “Negro” and not “Native American” as recently as the early 1980s. By combing through social media, news reports, missing persons databases, and family sources, the organization was able to find an additional 153 cases that were not included in law enforcement records.In addition to assessing the difficulty in obtaining records and how cases were tracked, the UIHI also focused on how reporting by the media contributes to the issue. Of the 506 cases documented, 95 percent were never covered by national or international news outlets. Of the coverage they could find, Lucchesi and Echo-Hawk noted that 31 percent of outlets used what is considered “violent language,” which is defined as “language that engages in racism or misogyny or racial stereotyping, including references to drugs, alcohol, sex work, gang violence, victim criminal history, victim blaming, making excuses for the perpetrator, misgendering transgender victims, racial misclassification, false information on cases, not naming the victim, and publishing images/video of the victim’s death.” Such reporting can cause additional harm by perpetuating negative stereotypes of American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Furthermore, the lack of sustained reporting minimizes the issue and limits efforts to increase community dialogue on how to improve safety for all who go missing.The researchers provide several recommendations including more funding for research, implementing enforceable data collection methods such as notifying tribes once someone goes missing or is murdered, and using guidelines created by the Native American Journalist Association to evaluate stories for bias. Researchers hope the implementation of such measures will prevent American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls from disappearing “in life, the media, and in the data.”—Chelsea DennisShare448TweetShareEmail448 Shares
The BBC has launched a new Russian language news app for iPhones.The BBC Russian App offers content from the bbcrussian.com website, including breaking news stories and video reports. The app can be personalised to focus on specific news areas including Russian news, world news, UK news, business, sport, society, multimedia and science and technology. It also offers offline access to the top three stories from each category. Video content is accessible over WiFi and 3G networks.James Montgomery, controller of digital and technology, BBC Global News said, “We are delighted to be launching this app for Russian speakers who want to use and share our news on the go with their iPhone or iPod touch, giving them access to a wealth of news content in the way that works best for them.”
Ted HallThe football World Cup from Brazil is the most accessible in the tournament’s history, according to research group Ovum, which estimates aht coverage of the competition is available on up to 5.9 billion screens globally.According to Ovum, PCs, tablets and smartphones now account for the majority of screens on which the World Cup is available, totalling 57% of all screens. However, larger screens will account for the majority of viewing of the tournament.“Devices capable of streaming live and on-demand video – of which there now 4.7 billion – are providing additional viewing opportunities outside the appointment viewing taking place in people’s living rooms,” said Ted Hall, senior analyst at Ovum. “With the likes of tablets providing the convenience and flexibility to consume content whenever and wherever, fans are able to watch more of the tournament than ever before.”Despite the widespread availability of the content, Ovum said that significant innovation around the tournament is lacking, with FIFA abandoning its support for 3DTV.
DTVKit is exhibiting at IBC on stand 4.A61c Taiwan-based set-top manufacturer Tatung Technology has joined UK-based not-for-profit DVB software stack organisation DTVKit to expand its DVB product range into the European market. DTVKit provides the core building blocks of a broadcast DVB stack royalty free. Tatung provides a wide range of digital TV CPE devices, including video gateways, set-top boxes, wireless devices, content delivery OTT and multiple screen solutions.Tatung’s collaboration with DTVKit is to develop a series of set-top box products, from H.264/1080p60 entry zapper to premium Ultra HD HEVC/4Kp60 gateway, for the delivery of MHEG and HbbTV solutions, in conjunction with IP, satellite, cable and terrestrial DVB services. Beyond its offering, this new development uses the latest software components from DTVKit and will be built on top of Tatung’s STB software platform including Linux/HTML5 Browser, Android and the latest RDK2.0 software.“We are very pleased that [Tatung] has joined DTVKit,” said Amy Cleary, Marketing and Operations Manager at DTVKit. “[Tatung] is an innovative and well respected manufacturer in the digital TV industry and we look forward to their contribution to the foundation on accelerating time to market for new products in this ever evolving market.”Luke Dang, president of Tatung said, “This collaboration allows [Tatung] to offer a mature technology platform to the rapidly growing Digital TV markets that are undergoing the next wave of deployments. DTVKit’s reliable DVB software stack compliments [Tatung’s] existing solution perfectly, and is essential to new product development and faster delivery to our customers.”
Video technology provider Harmonic has launched a certification programme for technology partners to recognize their “continued investment in technical talent”, the company said. According to Harmonic, its Certified Services Partner programme is designed not only to enhance customer confidence in participating partners, but also to foster continual improvement in the partner-provided support services afforded to Harmonic customers worldwide.The programme standardises the discount terms and provides branding for partners in addition to their tier status – Platinum and Gold – with Harmonic.Partners that are accepted into the programme will take specified Harmonic training courses. They will also complete an audit of their customer support processes, create procedures for communications and reporting with the Harmonic technical assistance centre, and participate in ongoing reviews.“Our goal in creating the Harmonic Certified Services Partner programme is to continue to empower our partners to deliver not only pre-sales support, but also post-sales support — and to give them the tools and resources to better serve our customers,” said Spencer Hodson, vice-president, sales and channel strategy, operations and enablement at Harmonic.“Partners have asked for this level of support from Harmonic, as services are a meaningful differentiator for their businesses. The programme will reward partners who invest in this service assurance process and pave the way for further certification and specialisation programmes.”
Robin RutiliInteractive TV technology provider Zenterio has agreed to acquire US-based VTilt Digital, an Atlanta-based software company specialising in digital video technology.Zenterio said the SEK12 million (€1.3 million) deal – together with Zenterio’s 27M Group acquisition in September and Systemagic in December 2014 – is part of its expansion strategy for meeting increased demand for its interactive TV software solutions.The deal also gives Zenterio a strengthened position in the North American market.Zenterio said the VTilt acquisition finalised its programme of strategic acquisitions that was announced in connection with a capital injection that was implemented in late 2014.“VTilt’s comprehensive competence is vital for Zenterio, particularly when it comes to IP-TV expertise and leading solutions that are currently installed with operators,” says Robin Rutili, CEO of Zenterio.“We must quickly meet demand because we recently brought home many deals requiring us to replace these solutions. While VTilt is a small company, it has a top-notch reputation in the industry and is the perfect representative for Zenterio’s brand on the North American market. Going forward, the plan is to quickly expand the Atlanta office to be able to leverage business opportunities that are available in the US, Canada, and Latin America and to strengthen our partner network.”
Telekom Austria said that TV and broadband growth partly compensated for continued losses in fixed-line voice in the third quarter.In Austria, the company’s A1 TV service had 263,000 customers at the end of the quarter, up 7.9%. However, TV and broadband revenue failed to completely arrest a decline in fixed line ARPU.In Bulgaria, where the company recently acquired cable operator Blizoo – which has yet to be consolidated – TV subscribers from its existing Mobiltel unit numbered 124,100, up 53.8% following the launch of a satellite offering at the end of last year. Croatian unit Vipnet recorded 187,200 TV customers at the end of September, up 14.6%.Telekom Austria posted revenues of €1.012 billion for the quarter, down 3.5%. Like-for-like EBITDA was €386.4 million, down 6.8%.
Beauty firm Coty has bought social TV service Beamly, with plans to use it as a marketing platform to help increase engagement with its digital campaigns.Announcing the deal, Coty described Beamly – which first launched in 2012 as a second-screen TV app called Zeebox – as a “cutting-edge digital marketing firm.”The company said it will use Beamly’s focus on driving audience growth and engagement around media to “provide a significant step change in Coty’s own digital engagement capabilities.”Coty, which is responsible for well-known fragrances from the likes of Calvin Klein, as well as cosmetics and skincare products, said the Beamly team will work across its in-house marketing operations and provide “enhanced digital marketing campaigns.”In particular, Coty said it will tap into Beamly’s data benchmarking, content creation, content optimisation and consumer engagement tools.“The acquisition of Beamly will address the accelerating consumer shift in time spent from traditional media to real time digital and social media channels,” said Camillo Pane, Coty’s executive vice-president, category development.“Beamly will help us to accelerate the growth of our e-commerce business, and be a positive contributor as Coty advances toward becoming a highly focused, pure-play leader and challenger in beauty.”Beamly will continue to be led by CEO and ex-Time Warner Cable executive Jason Forbes, but he will now be supervised by Pane. Beamly’s New York team will be based in Coty’s New York office, while the London team will remain in their current offices.Beamly was rebranded from Zeebox last year in a bid to “capture the zeitgeist” of its core target audience of 16 to 24 year-old millennials. At the time, Zeebox’s founders – former EMI exec Ernesto Schmitt and former iPlayer boss Anthony Rose – described the move as an evolution of the service, in line with shifts in the wider second screen TV market.“Zeebox was all about TV, Beamly is all about the show,” said Rose at the time, with the revamped app becoming a destination that provides value “even if you’re never in front of a TV.”Following the rebrand, both Rose and Schmitt took a “step back” from the firm and in May Rose launched a new social networking app designed to connect people with shared interests, called 6Tribes.Global beauty firm Coty was founded in Paris in 1904 and claimed net revenues of US$4.4 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015. The firm’s brand portfolio includes Calvin Klein, Chloé, Davidoff, Marc Jacobs and Rimmel.The Beamly deal was agreed for undisclosed terms.
By 2020, mobile video will represent 75% of global mobile data traffic, up from 55% in 2015, according to new research by Cisco.The Cisco Visual Networking Index report claims that mobile video will have the highest growth rate of any mobile application and by 2020, and will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 62% between 2015 and 2020.“Because mobile video content has much higher bit rates than other mobile content types, mobile video will generate much of the mobile traffic growth through 2020,” according to the Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update.“Of the 30.6 exabytes per month crossing the mobile network by 2020, 23.0 exabytes will be due to video.”Cisco said that this growth in video will result in an acceleration of busy-hour traffic in relation to average traffic growth, as video use tends to occur during evening hours and has a “prime time,” unlike general web use.“The shift toward on-demand video will affect mobile networks as much as it will affect fixed networks. Traffic can increase dramatically, even while the total amount of time spent watching video remains relatively constant,” said Cisco.Overall, the study said that global mobile data traffic will reach 30.6 exabytes per month in 2020, up from 3.7 exabytes in 2015. Per-year, it will reach 366.8 exabytes — up from 44.2 exabytes in 2015.This forecast annual run rate of 366.8 exabytes of mobile data traffic for 2020 is equivalent to 7 trillion video clips and is 120-times more than all the global mobile traffic generated in 2010, according to the research.