Facebook Comments “Yoga has the power to bring the entire humankind together. It beautifully combines Gyan (knowledge), Karm (work) and Bhakti (devotion),” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted last December after proposing the idea of celebrating International Yoga Day before the United Nations General Assembly.On Dec. 11, 2014, the U.N. approved a resolution declaring June 21 “International Yoga Day,” a global initiative dedicated to raising awareness about the multiple benefits of maintaining a yoga practice.“Yoga offers a simple, accessible and inclusive means to promote physical and spiritual health and well-being. It promotes respect for one’s fellow human beings and for the planet we share. And yoga does not discriminate; to varying degrees, all people can practice, regardless of their relative strength, age or ability,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a message regarding the world’s first Yoga Day.“On this first-ever International Day of Yoga, let us see the benefits of this practice in terms of individual well-being as well as our collective efforts to improve public health, promote peaceful relations and usher in a life of dignity for all,” he added.On Sunday, Modi’s vision will materialize as the world celebrates its first Yoga Day.Tomorrow the world will celebrate the first #YogaDay. I urge you all to be a part of it & inspire others to join as well.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 20, 2015In India, where the prime minister, a strict vegetarian with a daily yoga practice, created a Ministry of Yoga and the traditional healing science of Ayurveda, 35,000 government officials, soldiers and citizens will gather in the capital New Delhi for a 35-minute, open-air yoga session that could break the record for the world’s largest yoga class, AFP reported.In Costa Rica, those who enjoy stretching and bending their minds and bodies will be able to enjoy free yoga classes throughout the country on Sunday.Activities, organized by the Costa Rican Association of Yoga Teachers (AsoYoga), the Indian Embassy in Costa Rica, the Ministry of Culture, Health Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Relations, will kick off at 8 a.m. at the Costa Rican Art Museum in La Sabana, west of San José and carry on throughout the day in each of Costa Rica’s seven provinces.Katya Cordero, a yoga instructor and member of AsoYoga’s board of directors, told Amelia Rueda News that yoga “helps to activate energy and improves the respiratory, digestive and circulatory systems.” Related posts:Envision Festival announces 2016 music and arts lineup Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Envision Festival prepares to kick off its seventh edition
22Mar Rep. Roberts’ career counseling bill approved unanimously by committee Categories: News,Roberts News State Rep. Brett Roberts’ legislation to give students better access to college and career counseling was approved unanimously by the House Workforce and Talent Development Committee.His bill will ensure that counselors complete professional development instruction, specifically in the areas of career technical education and college preparation.“Counselors working with high school students should have all of the tools they need to guide students to post-graduation opportunities,” said Roberts, of Charlotte. “This counseling will include showing students all of their possible career paths, whether it includes college or not. Students and the families rely on this information to decide what classes to take and what opportunities to pursue after high school.”Currently, school counselors are required to get 150 hours of professional development over five years to remain certified by the state. His legislation does not call for an increase on those standards, but makes sure at least 25 hours are for career technical education and 25 hours are for college preparation.During testimony in mid-March, the committee heard comments in support of the legislation from current high school counselors and a manufacturing/pre-engineering education and training facility. Today’s vote was supported by the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Home Builders Association, Michigan Association of College Admissions Counseling, and multiple local and intermediate districts.“This bill will help our counselors know what choices exist for each individual student,” Roberts said. “The goal of every high school is to educate and prepare students for life after graduation. This will give students a better chance to know what their opportunities will be.”House Bill 4181 will advance to the House floor.#####
01Mar Glenn ‘smart meter’ bill is top 10 priority for AARP Tags: Smart Meters Categories: Glenn News,News National organization says analog option should remainAARP Michigan has adopted among its top 10 legislative priorities for 2018 a bill introduced by state Rep. Gary Glenn allowing customers of Consumers Energy and DTE the freedom to opt out of having a “smart” meter installed on their homes without being forced to pay an up front and monthly fees, as is now the case.The Michigan chapter of AARP, a national organization of more than 38 million members, said House Bill 4220 would allow customers to keep their old analog meter and replace already-installed smart-meter technology with an analog meter. Some customers consider smart meters, which provide utilities with real-time metering, are a violation of private property rights and could compromise data privacy and cyber security.Glenn (R-Williams Township), who is author of the bill and chair of the House Energy Policy Committee, said opposition to smart meters is growing.“I have conducted public hearings on this issue and there is a keen interest in affordable ways to opt out of smart meters,” Glenn said. “It is very apparent that utility customers across the state have valid concerns about their health and privacy.“Multiple overflow public hearings on this issue reveal a keen interest in affordable ways to opt out of smart meters, especially for senior citizens on severely limited budgets,” Glenn said. “It is very apparent that utility customers across the state, many of them retirees, have strongly-held concerns about the effect of smart meter technology.“AARP’s making this legislation one of their top priorities indicates that the Legislature is not the only place senior citizens are registering their concerns,” Glenn said. “I’m pleased to have AARP’s support for my efforts to give people a choice on how their electricity usage is recorded.”Consumers Energy and DTE Energy now charge residents nearly $70 upfront and nearly $10 a month afterwards to opt out of programs involving advanced electricity meters installed outside residential customers’ homes.Attorney General Bill Schuette took utilities to court to try to protect customers from being forced to accept installment of smart meters without penalty, but the state Court of Appeals ruled that unless state law is changed, homeowners can legally be charged for refusing to accept the technology.Glenn’s bill is under consideration in the House Energy Policy Committee.#####
The House Education Reform Committee, chaired by state Rep. Tim Kelly, today approved a landmark plan to better prepare new teachers for Michigan classrooms.The legislative package includes two bills sponsored by Kelly.“When we’re not putting new teachers in a position to succeed, we’re also shortchanging the students in that classroom – that’s what this plan seeks to correct,” said Kelly, of Saginaw Township. “We need to have our teacher prep institutions properly preparing its graduates for the challenges of education today and in the future. At the same time, we need to be smarter with our certification of our educators and get input from our most experienced teachers. Michigan is counting on better educational results and we have to get teachers prepared to lead the way.”Kelly’s legislation will establish a master teacher corps through the state Department of Education to help provide professional development, assist low performing schools and to serve as input for new educational programs or issues. His second bill will stipulate an elementary level teaching certificate only be allowed to student teachers who have completed 12 credits of reading instruction.The teacher prep plan will also:Require classroom management instruction and student teaching experience in multiple environments, such as rural and urban districts, while also familiarizing the student teacher with their district’s evaluation methods, local data to help craft instruction and classroom management;Require that full-time faculty at the teacher prep institution complete at least 30 hours of continuing education annually in order to be certified as a teacher preparation program;Set a standard that student teachers complete at least 400 hours of classroom experience during their preparation program, in addition to the college coursework;“This is about students and educational growth in the classroom,” Kelly said. “This plan will drive improvement – in our college education programs, local school districts and Michigan as a whole.”The legislative package advances to the House for its consideration.##### Categories: Kelly News,News 22Mar Kelly, education panel approves new teacher prep legislation
19Apr Rep. Kahle welcomes guest to Capitol during Arts Advocacy Day PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Bronna Kahle of Adrian welcomed Alison Carpenter to the Capitol during Arts Advocacy Day. Alison, an Eastern Michigan student and Adrian High School graduate, stressed the importance of arts and the creative industries for thriving communities in Michigan. Categories: Kahle News
25Apr Rep. Wentworth details plan to improve school safety to Michigan House panel Categories: News,Wentworth News The Michigan House Appropriations Committee heard testimony today on a plan to improve school safety across the state.The plan includes the creation of a school safety commission to review safety procedures in Michigan schools and more resources for security improvements in school buildings across the state. Other parts of the plan would make the OK2SAY school safety program permanent, enhance training for new law enforcement officers, require reporting procedures for school incidents and threats, and require safety-related measures in new school construction.“This plan is a necessary and fundamental step to secure the buildings where our kids, teachers and other school employees gather every school day to build a better Michigan,” said Rep. Jason Wentworth of Clare, sponsor of the main bill in the legislative plan. “There is nothing more important.”The school safety commission would evolve from a gubernatorial task force charged with making school safety recommendations. The commission would develop a system to audit safety procedures in Michigan schools. Grants to improve security would be distributed with priority going to schools with the greatest need.The plan calls for a liaison within each school district to report to and work with the commission – a necessary step to make sure improved safety practices reach every corner of the state and that local perspectives are included in the process.Wentworth said local schools, law enforcement and other groups “helped immensely” in developing the legislation and that work will continue.“It’s a team approach,” Wentworth said. “That’s what it takes to make sure the safety of our children and everyone who works in or visits a school comes first. We will continue to work with law enforcement and all the other groups committed to improving school safety as work on this plan continues.”Gladwin County Sheriff Mike Shea, a 30-year law enforcement veteran who also has worked as a school resource officer, is one of the local law enforcement personnel who worked with Wentworth on his plan.“The goal is to help determine as a school district what are we doing today and what can we do to get better,” Shea said. “The goal is to get good standards in place for every school district.”The legislation remains under consideration in the committee.
Share163Tweet2Share22Email187 SharesMay 9, 2016, Washington PostFor the first time in its 100-year history, the National Park Service is quietly preparing to make fundraising a central activity by aggressively soliciting corporate sponsorships using agency personnel as fundraisers.Joining widespread criticism by watchdog groups and park advocates, Joe Davidson at the Washington Post decries this effort to commercialize the national parks, broaden who can raise money, liberalize the use of sponsorship money, and expand what the government will promise in return.Private philanthropy has always supported national parks, with occasional flare-ups such as the time the Bush administration attempted to privatize parts of the park service in 2003, and in 2011 when Coca-Cola objected to a plan to prohibit the sale of disposable plastic water bottles in the parks. (The plan was never implemented.) In April 2015, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis waived agency policies to sign a multimillion-dollar deal with Anheuser-Busch that gave Budweiser unprecedented branding placements during the “quiet phase” of its $350 million Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks. In February 2016, having raised more than $200 million, the public phase of the campaign commenced with an updated fundraising plan called “Director’s Order #21: Philanthropic Partnerships” (the document is here) that exalts corporate branding. The Centennial Campaign concludes in 2018.Concerns range from corporate donors exerting influence on park policies to licensing park images for commercial purposes. The argument holds that the National Park Service should be devoted to protecting and stewarding national resources and leave fundraising to the private “friends” groups and the National Park Foundation.The National Park Service is a frequent subject of analysis at NPQ, most recently the issue of diversity. Probably no article addressed the subject of “how philanthropy props up public services” at the national parks more than in this article from the Nonprofit Quarterly’s spring 2015 edition. Here is an excerpt from Beth Gazley’s analysis:At the national level, the National Park Service, custodian of four hundred national monuments, historic sites and battlefields, parks, trails, rivers, preserves, and recreation areas situated across 84 million acres, has a budget of $3 billion and 22,000 staff. But it also has a deferred maintenance backlog estimated at more than $11 billion. So, nearly four hundred nonprofit “Friends of the Parks” and “cooperating associations” pick up some of the slack through fundraising, trail and infrastructure maintenance, advocacy, programming, visitor support, and volunteer engagement. In fact, one of the newest national park sites, the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County Pennsylvania, would not exist without the $40 million that the National Parks Foundation raised in private support for the memorial.A related question should be how private philanthropy alters the power dynamics of public-service decisions. Back in Chicago’s Millennium Park, it wasn’t an independent, objective panel of citizens or a group of elected officials who selected the final architectural design for the Pritzker Pavilion concert space, but the donor herself. Another story out of Chicago describes a day when the park was closed to the public for a donor event—just a single day, yet noteworthy, because it was the first time the park had ever been closed to its own citizens since 1836, when public officials designated the waterfront a space that should be “forever open, clear and free.”—James SchafferShare163Tweet2Share22Email187 Shares
Share6Tweet5Share3Email14 SharesNovember 30, 2016; Crain’s New YorkNPQ has, for some time, been covering the activity in New York by nonprofit advocates to support a wage increase for those working on the front lines of caregiving. These jobs are paid for by state and city contracts. The leadership displayed in New York is something that other state-based advocacy groups can observe for lessons.Although the focus here is on New York City, it’s a challenge across America, where just about all state and local governments outsource many of their human services to private nonprofits. Recently, Crain’s reported on nonprofits refusing or canceling contracts that don’t cover their costs, quoting one nonprofit executive who said, “The sector is in crisis.”The reporting pointed out that 40 percent of nonprofit service provider employees make $12 or less per hour, and that the most common complaints include underfunding, too many government audits, and high staff turnover.Earlier this year, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio raised the minimum wage for the 30,000 employees at those nonprofit social services contractors. The move will cost city taxpayers about $200 million through 2020. Nonprofit groups are now calling on New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo to do the same for workers contracted by the state.Crain’s asks, “What happens when those subsidies end? Or when tax revenue drops?”“Nonprofits can’t raise prices to meet the cost of doing business,” a spokesperson for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies told the publication, also ruling out consolidation (“because large nonprofits don’t have the same connection to communities as small nonprofits”) and the limited return on implementing efficiencies.“What the nonprofit sector is looking for is an uptick in government investment that keeps pace with inflation,” said the editorial. In sum:The city needs to look at how these nonprofits fit into the larger scope of services aimed at addressing social ills, especially in health care and education, where there is consensus that barriers to good health and intellectual achievement are rooted in poverty. Using the state’s Medicaid Redesign Task Force as a model, the city could increase spending on social services nonprofits—capped at inflation—but only if that money is tied to measurable improvements in outcomes.—Larry KaplanShare6Tweet5Share3Email14 Shares
Belgian DTH operator TéléSat is adding HD versions of the La Une and RTL TVi channels to its platform.The platform’s owner, Luxembourg-based broadcaster M7 Group, has signed a new capacity and uplink agreement with SES to distribute the channels via Astra’s 19.2° East orbital position. The channels will target French-speaking Belgium. This month, TéléSat also added RTBF’s La Trois HD channel.Ferdinand Kayser, chief commercial officer of SES, said: “We are delighted about this new capacity agreement with M7 Group. The addition of the HD services of RTBF and RTL is also very good news for satellite viewers in French speaking Belgium, greatly enhancing their viewing experience.”Separately, SES has announced that its SES-3 satellite is being relocated from its former location over North America to Asia. The SES-3 satellite, which launched last year, is being relocated to 108.2° East to provide coverage of the Middle East and South Asia regions, where SES said it was experiencing growing customer demand. The drift began in mid-December 2011 and the satellite is expected to arrive at its new orbital location on February 6.
A former Al Jazeera executive has launched a new pan Arabian satellite channel Al-Mayadeen (The Squares).Ghassan bin Jiddo quit the Qatar-based news broadcaster last year to protest against its reporting of the uprising in Syria and has launched the new channel, which is based in Beirut, to counter the influence of Al Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.“We are not a channel that speaks in the name of Iran or the Syrian regime. We are a completely independent channel which reflects reality as it is,” bin Jiddo said at a news conference in Beirut.
TDF Media Services, the TDF media solutions business unit, has announced the launch of the first end-to-end HbbTV platform.The platform is compatible with HbbTV1.1 and HbbTV1.5 and supports both Marlin and Microsoft Playready DRM. It includes metadata management, video processing and content monetisation features. A CDN provided by SmartJog enables video streaming to all connected devices including HbbTV connected TV sets.Other features include a recommendation engine provided by French technology company Cognik.France Televisions, the French public broadcaster, has used the TDF HbbTV platform to deploy its Salto restart service. This service, launched on July 3 , enables TV viewers to instantly restart a programme that has begun airing. Other implementations will be launched in France with some major DTT channels before the end of the year.TDF Media Services will support Media Broadcast in the upcoming launch of hybrid interactive TV in Germany, and will also implement an end-to-end solution in Russia for the Russian broadcast network operator RTRS.
Ukrainian cable operator Volia will launch its hybrid IP/cable Smart HD set-top box and catch-up services next month, with multiscreen content to be added by the end of the year, according to Andrzej Metelski, overall project manager for OTT, speaking at Informa’s Digital TV CEE conference in Krakow yesterday.Volia launched OTT to provide interactive services to its own subscriber base and also to extend its reach beyond its own footprint. The operator is already providing the service to partner operators. Next month it will launch a hybrid set top for its existing clients. Catch up TV will also arrive in July, with multiscreen distribution to be added by the end of this year, according to Metelski.He said that customers wanted to watch time-shifted content and the willingness of customers to pay for this convenience has been shown by the success of services such as Netflix and Hulu. Smart HD already provides a library of 20,000 content assets to customers and Volia is planning to deliver as much as possible to multiple screens.Smart HD subs will need a Volia Smart HD set top and an internet connection of 5Mbps. There are three packages, Start for the equivalent of €8 with 90 channels, Optimal for €11 with 120 channels and Optimal HD for €13 with 130-plus channels.Metelski said half of all TV households in the Ukraine currently access analogue over the air TV, with about a third using cable services. Analogue switch off is expected in 2015 and Volia wants to be prepared to win sub to pay TV at that point. To target this market, Volia may offer a hybrid box as well as its IP box, Metelski told attendees. He said Volia is also offering a large number of advertising-supported VOD titles that it can use to tempt free-to-air viewers.Metelski said other reasons for the launch of Smart HD included that high-speed mobile networks are on the way and OTT operators are expected to compete for business. He said an intensification of campaigns against piracy will also help drive those that currently use illegal services to legitimate pay TV services, and Volia could stand to benefit from that.
A quarter (24%) of 16-24s ‘TV binge,’ watching entire seasons in one sitting, while 52% say they watch at least two episodes of a show at a time, according to a new study by Voxburner. The research firm, which also organises the Youth Marketing Strategy summit, said that 44% of young people use paid for streaming services to watch or download films and TV programmes.Netflix was found to be the most popular, with 38% using the streaming service in the last month, followed by Lovefilm at 8% and Mubi at 7%.“The concept of watching one live episode of TV a week doesn’t exist to young people. The switch to content on demand has changed behaviour and the idea of ‘binge watching’ entire seasons or multiple episodes at one time is becoming the norm,” said Luke Mitchell, head of insight at Voxburner.
Eurosport is celebrating 25 years of sports broadcasting with plans to introduce new digital technology products and services throughout 2014. The channel, which first went live in 1989, said that the new services will aim to bring “the best possible coverage and choice to today’s fans.” It is also due to publish research later this month that will look at the live sport preferences of European fans.“Reaching our 25th year in such a strong position is a reflection of the hard work and passion of all the staff at Eurosport. We won’t be looking back in 2014 but using the knowledge we have developed since 1989 to continue to look ahead to innovate and improve our content to bring the public the most immersive and insightful live sports experience,” said Eurosport Group CEO Jean-Thierry Augustin.Throughout this year, Eurosport said it will also launch a promotional campaign called ‘We Live For Live,’ which herald “the group’s continued passion for live sports.”
TV access over DSL (Source: ARCEP)Fifteen million French homes, or two thirds of the country’s total, have access to TV-over-DSL services, according to the latest figures released by telecom regulator ARCEP. According to ARCEP, 15 million French homes had technical access to IPTV services over DSL networks at the end of June, up from 14.8 million at the end of 2014 and up 915,000 year-on-year.According to ARCEP, 2.3 million households had access to very high-speed internet services, up 570,000 year-on-year. Some 714,000 had access to fibre-based broadband, up 290,000.
ACTV CEO Godfrey OrkehDistributor 3Vision has launched a number of channels as part of the new African Cable Television (ACTV) bouquet for Nigeria.ACTV will be offering customers four pay-TV packages: ACTV prime, ACTV family, ACTV family max and ACTV premium. The channels provided by 3Vision Distribution are: Fashion One, Motorvision HD, FABtv, plus Magic and Smash Hits music channels from Box TV International.ACTV recently also signed a deal with Fox International Channels to include channels Fox, Fox Crime, FX, National Geographic Gold, Fox Movies, Fox Sports, Fox Sports 2 and Baby TV on its platform.“We believe that ACTV customers will spend this end of year season with an expanded choice of TV channels covering motoring, African fashion, fitness and beauty and popular music from international artists. It represents entertainment for all the family and, of course, friends and relatives”, said Godfrey Orkeh, managing director and chief executive officer of ACTV.“We are delighted to be working with ACTV and their launch of 5 of our channels represents the continuing popularity of lifestyle, entertainment and music channels in Africa and confirms the appeal of 3Vision Distribution’s suite of channels not just in Nigeria, but in the region as a whole”, says Mike McKibbin, 3Vision Distribution’s International sales and marketing director.
Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Poland is extending its digital TV, broadband and phone services to Głogów following the build-out of its network in the south-western Polish city.UPC will offer internet speeds of up to 250Mbps and its Horizon TV service to Głogów residents from October.The latest launch follows recent extensions of UPC’s network to Rzeszów in the south-eastern part of the country and Płock in central Poland.UPC has also announced that it is extending its services to the towns of Bolesławiec and Kowary in Lower Silesia and Zdzieszowice in Opole.
Cisco’s struggling service provider video business provided the only significant drag on otherwise solid full-year and fourth quarter results, with the video business delivering quarterly revenues of US$994 million (€894 million), down 7% and full-year sales of US$3.555 billion, down 10%. Cisco as a whole turned in full-year revenues of US$49.161 billion, up 4%.The final fiscal quarter to June saw Cisco sell its video devices business to Technicolor for US$600 million in cash and stock.In an analyst call following the results, chief financial officer Kelly Kramer said that the company had achieved Q4 revenue growth “in every product area except service provider video” and reiterated that the company would refocus its video unit around cloud and software-based services following the sale of the set-top and gateway business to Technicolor. She said that Cisco expected the Technicolor deal to close at the end of this calendar year.
Amazon and Microsoft have announced plans to add compatibility between their respective voice assistants, Alexa and Cortana, later this year.Microsoft hailed the deal as a “first-of-its-kind collaboration” that will offer more choice, value and access to both personal assistants.Consumers will be able to access Cortana on Alexa-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show, and will initially be able to access Alexa via Cortana on Windows 10 PCs, with Android and iOS compatibility to follow in the future.“The world is big and so multifaceted,” said Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos.“There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialised skill areas.“Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience. It’s great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana.”Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, said: “Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us. Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”
On-demand OTT TV technology specialist Simplestream has tapped video intelligence outfit Nice People At Work (NPAW) to provide data analytics technology for its ‘VOD-in-a-box’ service and OTT projects.The first Simplestream customers to have access to data analytics from NPAW are those using the VOD-in-a-Box platform, for whom the analytics went live last month.The initial deployment was of Youbora by NPAW, the company’s video analytics suite, with the additional modules SmartTracking for detailed user experience metrics and SmartReports for segmented data exports, being made immediately available.Simplestream plans to launch additional features in 2018 such as SmartUsers: for churn prediction, customer behaviour and segmentation, and SmartSwitch, which automatically switches between CDNs to improve end user QoE, according to the pair.“After an intensive evaluation process, we have chosen NPAW as our data analytics partner. As we and our customers mature we are often able to provide cutting edge functionality by partnering with a best of breed technology provider. For data analytics the power and flexibility made NPAW the best choice for Simplestream and its clients. In particular its unlimited filtering and segmenting of data was a key Youbora differentiator,” said Lewis Arthur, COO, Simplestream.“The crux of this partnership is to give our customers more data on how their end users consume content. What works, what doesn’t work – what type of content is resonating with my userbase and where are they? The interface is designed to be useful for a range of skillsets, from marketing who can use the segmentation tools, technical teams who can monitor the quality and ‘happiness’ of each individual video view, to the C-level daily email reports for senior management. I’m looking forward to our bespoke and our VOD-in-a-Box customers getting access to market leading, insightful analytics from which they can derive real value.”