Sasha Foo 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI)- The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development got a personal look Friday at how San Diego is helping hundreds of homeless men and women get off the street.HUD Secretary Ben Carson visited one of the city’s three tent shelters, run by the Alpha Project.With reporters and Carson’s press team tagging along, the Secretary spent about 30 minutes with Alpha Project CEO Bob McElroy touring the tent in the East Village, which is home to 325 men and women each night.Altogether, the city’s three tent shelters established a year ago by the City of San Diego bring about 700 people off the street every night. Carson was shown the shelter beds, showers and laundry facilities.The Alpha Project tent also has medical services and caseworkers who connect people to programs for employment, counseling and fighting substance abuse. Carson, speaking to reporters said the federal government funds thousands of programs, but is focused on identifying programs and solutions that actually work.“We are concentrating on data, we are concentrating on evidence. We don’t care about ideology, so whether there’s “Housing First” or whether it’s a different type of program, we want to see what the results are. If the results are good, we’re behind them 100 percent,” Carson said. Sasha Foo, HUD Secretary Ben Carson tours San Diego’s homeless shelter February 22, 2019 Posted: February 22, 2019 Categories: Local San Diego News, National & International News, Politics FacebookTwitter
For Bill Cole, the arrival of farmers market season means business is about to pick up.“I’ve got about a five- to seven-month window,” said Cole, owner of Vancouver-based Nature’s Wild Harvest. “That’s where I make most of my income.”Cole’s company sells wild mushrooms and other foraged foods at the Vancouver Farmers Market, plus a handful of other Portland-area markets. He’s not the only vendor who hits multiple markets throughout the year. But business models vary, and local growers weigh a variety of factors in deciding where to set up, or whether to do so at all.Some local farms focus more on direct sales to customers through community-supported agriculture programs, or CSAs. Some are able to land their yields on grocery store shelves. Most find some combination of ways to sell their bounty.How local farms approach the market season can differ widely from one grower to the next, said Vancouver Farmers Market director Jordan Boldt.“It really depends on the business model that works best for them,” Boldt said.Cole has sold at the Vancouver market for 16 years. But Nature’s Wild Harvest tends to see better sales at the Portland markets where produce options are more plentiful and people come looking for them, he said. Many vendors don’t work the same market all year; some come and go or emphasize a particular time of year depending on what’s in season.The Vancouver Farmers Market kicked off its 2014 season in March. Others in the county will start later this spring and summer.Coyote Ridge Ranch plans to sell this year at the Salmon Creek Farmers Market, which is open Tuesdays and Thursdays. Valerie Alexander, owner of the La Center-based farm, said that decision has a lot to do with the market’s clientele, and its manager, Ann Foster.
Guntur: District in-charge minister Perni Venkatramaiah said that Chef Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is implementing Navaratnas to extend helping hand to poor. Hoisting the national flag on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day celebrations here on Thursday, he said the government appointed village volunteers to extend the fruits of welfare scheme benefits to the all eligible people. Also Read – Fit India rally held in Vijayawada Advertise With Us He assured that the government would distribute investment subsidy of Rs 12,500 to every farmer from October and same would be extended to tenant farmers also. He recalled that the government had paid insurance premium under the YSR Crop Insurance Scheme on behalf of the farmers to extend helping hand and to prevent suicides among farmers. Under the scheme, the kin of farmers family will get Rs 7 lakh insurance from the insurance company. He said so far, the insurance company paid claims to seven farmers and recalled that the government had set up price stabilization fund with Rs 3,000 crore besides giving 9-hour day power supply to agriculture pumpsets. Also Read – PV Sindhu visits Tirumala temple Advertise With Us He said the government has taken up canals and drains modernisation works in the Krishna Western Delta region at a cost of Rs 1,130 crore in the district and taken up Nallamada drain modernisation works. MP Lavu Srikrishnadevarayalu, MLAs Mustafa, Maddali Giri, MLC K S Lakshmana Rao, Collector I Samuel Anand Kumar, GMC Commissioner Srikar B Lathkar were among those participated.
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed her concerned officials to ensure a crackdown on middlemen, who have caused problems regarding paddy procurement from farmers.”We want to procure paddy directly from the farmers and at the same time, increase the procurement target. This year, we have set a target of procuring 58 lakh metric tonnes of paddy. Sometimes, people get involved in the process of procuring paddy directly from farmers, which creates trouble for the entire process. We would not allow the involvement of any other person other than the farmers,” Banerjee told reporters at Nabanna on Wednesday. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeA senior official who attended the meeting said that the Chief Minister has directed the administration to be more vigilant and take all possible measures to eliminate the involvement of middlemen. Banerjee chaired a meeting at the state Secretariat with concerned ministers and senior officials of Food & Supplies, Agriculture, Agriculture Marketing and a few other departments, to take stock of the situation and clear the bottlenecks in the process. District Magistrates and Police Superintendents of a number of districts also attended the meeting. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedShe also expressed her displeasure over the failure to crackdown on the middlemen, thereby resulting in lesser procurement than desired. “We want farmers to sell the stock themselves and in return, hand over the money to them directly. They were earlier handed over payment by RTGS to their bank accounts, but now we have decided to hand over cheques immediately after they sell the paddy. This will make the process or procurement hassle-free. We are setting up an additional 2,000 centres beside the existing kisan mandis, where farmers can come to sell their stocks,” the Chief Minister said. According to a source, Banerjee has asked the state agencies to procure the entire stock of paddy that a farmer brings to sell. No farmer can be turned down and they cannot be deprived of the minimum support price for paddy procurement, she is learnt to have directed the officials. A minimum support price of Rs 1,750 has to be paid to the farmers. The Chief Minister reiterated: “Farmer issues, unemployment and secularism are going to be the key issues in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. Farmers in this state are smiling. We have already waived khajna (land rent) for farmers and have done away with mutation fees for registering agricultural land.”
This story originally appeared on Reuters 2 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. November 12, 2014 Register Now » The European Space Agency (ESA) landed a probe on a comet on Wednesday, a first in space exploration and the climax of a decade-long mission to get samples from what are the remnants of the birth of Earth’s solar system.The box-shaped 100-kg (220-pound) lander, named Philae, touched down on schedule at about 1600 GMT after a seven-hour descent from spacecraft Rosetta around half a billion kilometers (300 million miles) from Earth.Scientists hope that samples from the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will help show how planets and life are created as the rock and ice that make up the comet preserve organic molecules like a time-capsule.Comets come from the formation of Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old solar system. Scientists believe they may have brought much of the water in Earth’s oceans.”We are ready to make science fiction a science fact,” ESA director of human spaceflight and operations, Thomas Reiter, said at the European Space Operations Center in Germany before the landing.Rosetta reached the comet, a roughly 3-by-5 km rock discovered in 1969, in August after a journey of 6.4 billion km that took 10 years, five months and four days – a mission that cost close to 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion).Rosetta is the first spacecraft to orbit a comet rather than just flying past to take pictures.Wednesday’s launch went ahead despite a problem with the thruster that meant the probe had to rely mainly on its harpoons to stop it bouncing back from the comet’s surface.The three-legged lander had to be released at exactly the right time and speed because it cannot be controlled on its descent. On its way down, Philae gathered data and images, which were relayed back to Earth.Engineers designed the lander not knowing what type of terrain they would find on the comet’s surface. Rosetta has been taking pictures of the comet and collecting samples from its atmosphere as it approaches the sun, showing it is not as smooth as initially hoped, making landing more tricky.The surface is also more dusty than expected, limiting light needed to charge its solar panels and power its instruments once its batteries run out after two and a half days.(Additional reporting by Irene Klotz in Cape Canaveral, Fla; Editing by Louise Ireland) Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global
Categories: Barrett News,News 27Jan Rep. Barrett invites residents to Potterville office hours State Rep. Tom Barrett invites residents to join him for office hours on Friday, Jan. 30, in Potterville.Barrett, R-Potterville, will host the informal office hours at Joe’s Gizzard City Café, 120 W. Main St., Potterville, from 8 to 10 a.m.“I am eager to hear what people in the 71st House District have to say about state and local government and how I can better represent them in Lansing,” Barrett said. “I plan to conduct regular office hours throughout the district, and welcome anyone who has questions or suggestions about government. Even if you just want to stop in and say hello, that also would be appreciated.”No reservations are necessary. Anyone unable to attend may contact Rep. Barrett by calling 517-373-0853 or via email at TomBarrett@house.mi.gov.####
Categories: Garcia News,Garcia Photos 15Jul Rep. García’s SmartZone development bill signed into law Gov. Snyder signs legislation fosteringeconomic opportunity, job growthLANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Daniela García, R-Holland, was signed into law today by Gov. Rick Snyder and will promote economic development in West Michigan and across the state. From left: Rick Baker, President and CEO, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce; Therese Thill, Vice President for Business Development, The Right Place, Inc.; Rep. García; Adam Wright, Legislative Director, Rep. Daniela García; Kara Wood, Executive Director, Grand Rapids Economic Development Corporation; Gov. Snyder; Eric DeLong, Deputy City Manager, City of Grand Rapids; Jennifer Owens, President, Lakeshore Advantage; Robert VandeVusse, Mayor, City of Holland; Allie Bush, Director of Government Affairs, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce; Jane Clark, President, West Coast Chamber of Commerce; and David Bertram, Assistant Vice President for State Affairs, Michigan State University.Gov. Rick Snyder today approved legislation sponsored by state Rep. Daniela García giving interested communities the opportunity to pursue the formation of local satellite SmartZones.“The people of Holland and Ottawa County have been working for months with Grand Rapids officials to expand a successful economic partnership in our West Michigan community,” said Rep. García, R-Holland. “This legislation supports entrepreneurship and innovation, encourages investment in communities statewide, and promotes collaboration between numerous community stakeholders.”Rep. García’s efforts in Lansing have not gone unnoticed by local and regional development leaders. The Right Place, Inc. President and CEO Birgit Klohs and Lakeshore Advantage President Jennifer Owens have praised the representative for her diligent work on behalf of the West Michigan community.“We commend Rep. García on her leadership in helping to expand the Grand Rapids SmartZone,” said Klohs of Grand Rapids. “This expansion will lead to deeper regional collaborations within West Michigan.”Owens, of Zeeland, said: “The SmartZone legislation is invaluable to allow for further collaboration and innovation in West Michigan. Rep. García worked tirelessly to move this important bill forward.”At present, Michigan has 15 SmartZone districts and three satellites that are permitted to collect local and state tax dollars to ignite investment, grow business and spur development projects. Rep. García’s House Bill 4226, now Public Act 125 of 2015, increases the maximum allowed satellite partnerships from three to nine, encouraging more communities to apply for SmartZone satellite status.Though satellites can be established without taxpayer investment, the benefits of SmartZone tax captures outweigh the regional cost time and time again.“I could not be happier to have the support of Gov. Snyder on this valuable law, which will allow more Michigan communities like ours to see the very tangible benefits of SmartZones,” Rep. García said. “Job creation and talent attraction and retention for the people of Michigan cannot be overvalued, which is why I’ve worked hard to make this legislation a reality.”
Categories: Chatfield News,News Funding included in new state budget State Rep. Lee Chatfield today announced the state budget approved by the Legislature will fund construction at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Bay Harbor.Rep. Chatfield, of Levering, said the budget includes $1 million to fund the completion of the project.Rep. Chatfield said the Center for the Arts has the potential to increase tourism and ignite a passion for the performing arts for generations.“This new state-of-the-art facility will be a destination for people from all over the state and country, further boosting tourism and strengthening our local economy,” Rep. Chatfield said.Rep. Chatfield worked with House Appropriations Chair Laura Cox of Livonia to help secure the funding.Also included in the state budget is record funding for local K-12 schools and road repairs. The budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year spends fewer state tax dollars than the current budget while retiring billions of dollars of debt and building an emergency savings fund of more than $1 billion.House Bill 5579 and Senate Bill 848 advance to the governor for his consideration.##### 12Jun Rep. Chatfield announces funding for Great Lakes Center for the Arts
Categories: Maturen News,News State Rep. David Maturen continues to advocate for fair property tax assessments for Michigan businesses and residents.Maturen this week appeared as a special guest at a Michigan Municipal League legislative update in Marshall. The forum, attended by several local government and community leaders, focused on tax policy.Maturen is vice chair of the House Tax Policy Committee, and has worked in real estate appraisal and valuation for decades. He continues to push for “dark store” property tax reforms and other changes to address problem areas, while raising concerns about proposals he says are unnecessarily broad.“Michigan’s economic comeback has been sparked in large part by smart and sensible tax reforms,” said Maturen, of Vicksburg. “We must continue on the right path moving forward.“The assessed value of property and the amount of taxes paid as a result are critically important to us all. It is a key factor in determining the financial health of homeowners and small businesses. It is a key factor in financing local governments and schools. The property tax system must be fair and equitable for all, and that is the measure I use to judge proposed changes.”Maturen has championed several important tax changes, including a recent improvement signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder in June. The change provides equity on the real estate transfer tax.Maturen continues to fight for his “dark store” legislation designed to prevent large retail corporations from “unfairly and dramatically” reducing their property tax bills. Maturen said his legislation would mirror a Michigan Supreme Court ruling from late 2017, ensuring fairness for small retailers and local communities.Maturen also is monitoring a more sweeping proposal to change the state’s property tax assessing system, which has sparked some concern.“I believe we should address specific problem areas without revamping our entire system or taking away local control,” Maturen said.### 02Aug Rep. Maturen talks about importance of fair property tax system with Michigan Municipal League
23May Rep. Whiteford welcomes Pfc. Laura Velderman to state Capitol Categories: Whiteford News PHOTO INFORMATION: Joined by her family, Pfc. Laura Velderman was recognized with a special tribute on the House floor by Rep. Mary Whiteford and Sen. Aric Nesbitt on Wednesday, May 22.### State Rep. Mary Whiteford, of Casco Township, welcomed local high school student and U.S. Marine Laura Velderman to the state Capitol on Wednesday to honor her with a special tribute on the House floor.At just 17 years old, Velderman had the necessary classes and credits completed to graduate from Hopkins High School. Instead of coasting through the last few months of her senior year, she took the advice of her recruiter and enrolled in a three-month basic training program for the Marine Corps. While there, she gained the “Molly Marine” award for showing Marine characteristics from the beginning of training and even qualified as an expert in Marksmanship, the highest classification given. These accolades earned her a promotion and allowed her to graduate as a private first class Marine before even graduating high school.Pfc. Velderman attended her military graduation ceremony last Friday. This Friday, she will be walking across the stage at Hopkins High School to receive her diploma. In between her two graduation ceremonies, Velderman received special recognition on the House floor by Rep. Whiteford and Sen. Aric Nesbitt.“May happens to be Military Appreciation Month, and Pfc. Velderman is an inspirational young woman and a terrific example of exemplary service to our country,” Rep. Whiteford said. “Her accomplishments have made our community very proud and it was an honor to recognize her at the Capitol.”
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJune 22, 2015; New York TimesThe leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the hate group that seems to have provided the source material for racial terrorist Dylann Roof, has been a campaign contributor in the current presidential cycle—to Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, and Rand Paul. Besides these presidential contenders, Earl Holt III had made campaign donations to past and current members of Congress like Jeff Flake, Rob Portman, Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Tom Cotton, and Todd Akin. According to The Guardian, which broke the story, all told Holt has given $65,000 in recent years to various Republican candidates’ campaigns.Having just learned that the Earl Holt III who contributed $8,500 to his campaign is the Earl Holt III who is president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the Ted Cruz campaign initially said it would return the money donated to Cruz’s Jobs Growth and Freedom Fund back to the leader of the hate group, but The Guardian is reporting that the campaign has reconsidered and is instead giving the money to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund to assist the victims of Roof’s murderous rampage. The Santorum and Paul campaigns seem to be following suit.Having distributed his money widely among Republicans, even to Mitt Romney for his 2012 campaign, the recipients are in general repurposing Holt’s donations—Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin sending $3,500 to charity, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas turning $3,000 over to the Salvation Army in Austin, and Senator Rob Portman giving $250, Joni Ernst $1,000, Thom Tillis $1,000, Ron Johnson $1,250, Bill Cassidy $1,000, and Rep. Louie Gohmert $1,250 to the church fund. Senator Cotton and Rep. Mia Love are returning the combined $2,500 they got to Holt.You have to wonder what goes on with these campaigns in terms of vetting their campaign contributors. Given that Holt and the Council aren’t exactly invisible, and that Holt identified his occupation on some campaign contributions as “slumlord,” you would think that someone would have noticed.There’s also the question of what was going on in Holt’s own mind. Online commentators signing Holt’s name, frequently posting on Glenn Beck’s online site The Blaze, have expressed the vile racist ideas that were apparently shared by Dylann Roof. Perhaps, however, Holt didn’t realize in donating to Mia Love, he was supporting the election of the first black Republican woman in Congress. And did Love have any sense that Holt is the man who in 2004 published a diatribe including an assertion that the “nigro [sic] is still as criminal, surly, lazy, violent, and stupid as he/she ever was”?Since the revelations from The Guardian, the candidates are scrambling with the hot potatoes of Holt’s campaign contributions. But isn’t the next step to figure out which other leaders and spokespersons of hate groups on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s map of hate groups are also making donations to their campaigns and to set up triggers to notify campaign finance people that the money is coming from racist organizations? Or is the theory that the campaign money from racist organizations is OK so long as The Guardian or the New York Times don’t report on it—and then we’ll give it to charity if we’re outed?—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share164TweetShareEmail164 Shares October 6, 2015; Miami HeraldOn Labor Day, parents from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Australia rallied to advocate for safer birth practices and increased information and choice about birthing, including reduced use of Cesarean section deliveries, or C-sections.The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also has concerns about the rapidly increasing number of C-sections in the United States. The procedure is a major abdominal surgery and costs approximately twice as much as a vaginal birth, but increased use of the procedure does not appear to be improving outcomes for women or their babies – in fact, it is associated with surgical complications, increased rates of maternal rehospitalizations, and increased complications requiring neonatal intensive care unit admissions. Internationally, the ideal rate of C-sections is considered to be 10 – 15 percent of all births, yet use of the procedure in the United States increased between 1996 and 2007 by 50 percent, accounting for 32 percent of all births in 2007. Now, in Hialeah, Florida, the rate is more than twice that, at 68 percent.The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that surveys U.S. hospitals for quality and safety measures, issued a report last week based on self-reported hospital data on the number of C-sections performed on first-time, low-risk moms with single babies who have reached their 37th week and where the baby is positioned head-down, indicating a low-risk of complication. Leapfrog’s data were designed to help expectant parents choose a hospital for their childbirth, said Leah Binder, chief executive of the group. But, Binder also hopes that this will induce hospitals to cut down rates of C-sections.“What we see from this data,” she said, “is that not all hospitals are the same, and the likelihood of needing a C-section is actually different depending on which hospital you choose….Because we see so much variation, we know hospitals need to set their sights on reducing rates.”This report is especially negative for Florida hospitals. Their data far exceeded the recommended target of 24 percent out of 100 births. In fact, some hospitals reported ratios that were greater than 50 percent. Baptist South Miami reported a ratio of 53.4 percent, Hialeah at 68 percent, Palmetto General, 57 percent, Kendall Regional, 53.9 percent, Mercy Hospital, 51.8 percent, Plantation General, 54.7 percent. It should be noted, though, that the data have limitations, as Leapfrog exclude from the survey some hospitals that could have reported C-section rates.Critics suggest that hospitals have an incentive to perform operations. According to a 2013 study by Truven Health Analytics, a healthcare consultant, average total payments for cesarean section deliveries were about 50 percent higher than average payments with vaginal births for both private insurance—$27,866 vs. $18,329—and Medicaid, $13,590 vs. $9,131. Childbirth Connection, a nonprofit group advocating informed choice concerning vaginal births, contends, “Many health professionals are feeling squeezed by tightened payments for services and increasing practice expenses. Some payment schedules pay more for cesarean than vaginal birth. Even when payment is similar for both, a planned cesarean section is an especially efficient way for professionals to organize their hospital and office work. Average hospital payments are much greater for cesarean than vaginal birth, and may offer hospitals greater scope for profit.”Childbirth Connection’s “Listening to Mothers” survey indicated that many women with a previous cesarean would have liked the option of a vaginal birth after cesarean but were not informed by health professionals and/or hospitals. About nine out of ten women with a previous cesarean section are having repeat cesareans in the United States. Similarly, few women with a fetus in a breech position have the option to plan a vaginal birth, and twins are increasingly born via planned cesarean section.The organization also suggests that doctors are prioritizing their own scheduling needs above the best interests of mothers and babies.—G. Meredith BetzShare164TweetShareEmail164 Shares
Share57TweetShare6Email63 SharesAugust 18, 2016; NPRLast Thursday, former president Bill Clinton told the Clinton Foundation staff that the foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) would close after its 12th and final annual meeting in September (a week before the first national presidential debate). This last meeting of the CGI is timed, as always, to coincide with the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.If Hillary Clinton is elected president, Bill said he would step down from the Clinton Foundation board and stop giving paid speeches. He also promised that the foundation would discontinue its acceptance of contributions from corporate and foreign donors, which, according to the Washington Post, represent more than half of the foundation’s major donors. While this self-imposed ban on select donations would also apply to the Clinton Presidential Center and Library in Little Rock, the Boston Globe observes that large segments of the Clinton Foundation system would remain exempt.The most prominent of the exceptions applies to the Boston-based Clinton Health Access Initiative, which in 2014 accounted for 66 percent of spending by the Clinton network of charities. The initiative’s board plans to meet “soon” to discuss whether to participate in the planned restrictions.Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, further qualified the self-imposed restrictions by telling CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union that it will take time for the foundation to wind down its fundraising. “The foundation is doing an enormous amount of work, and it takes time when you’re in a number of countries around the world to retool, refocus the mission, and adapt.”When Hillary Clinton launched her presidential campaign in 2015, she stepped down from the foundation’s board, stopped fundraising for the foundation, and stopped giving paid speeches.The Clinton Foundation was founded in 1997 as the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation and was called the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation briefly from 2013–15. The foundation includes many initiatives. The list that follows is merely representative of this sprawling global charity:The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI, spun off into a separate but related organization in 2010), the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI, split off after 2009 but reintegrated after 2013), Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI), the Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative, the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI), the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the No Ceilings Project.The Clinton Foundation could be seen as a prototype of the kind of organization necessary to meet the needs of the 21st century. Charity Navigator had this to say as they threw in the towel on trying to explain the foundation.We had previously evaluated this organization, but have since determined that this charity’s atypical business model cannot be accurately captured in our current rating methodology. Our removal of The Clinton Foundation from our site is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of this charity. We reserve the right to reinstate a rating for The Clinton Foundation as soon as we identify a rating methodology that appropriately captures its business model.If Clinton Foundation initiatives are viewed more along the lines of empowering “impact investing” and facilitation than traditional philanthropy—which, as we know, is rather stuck—is not this new model more likely to leverage the trillions of dollars needed to achieve the foundation’s goals to address climate change and global interdependence? Are not the solutions to today’s challenges uncharted? Is influence an appropriate tool to leverage for the common good, even if this mechanism can also provide a platform and spectacular speaking fees for a former U.S. president and the ability for the foundation to help friends?Others are not so willing to give the once-and-maybe-future first family the benefit of the doubt. Many Republicans interpret these new pledges to curtail the reach and appeal of the foundation as an admission that there was a conflict of interest to begin with. As NPR reported, scrutiny of Hillary’s emails revealed efforts to connect foundation donors and foundation aides with State Department personnel. The foundation and the Clinton campaign denied anything improper or unlawful occurred during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State.The breaking news yesterday evening, however, was that Laura Graham, the Clinton Foundation’s chief operating officer, left 148 telephone messages for Cheryl Mills, chief of staff during Clinton’s four-year tenure at the State Department, over a two-year period. This may have been improper, given Hillary’s pledge to the Obama administration that she would enforce a firewall between the State Department and the foundation, but it does not necessarily indicate anything illegal.Other breaking news yesterday evening from Judicial Watch is that 725 pages of newly revealed State Department documents show that Huma Abedin “provided influential Clinton Foundation donors special, expedited access to the secretary of state. In many instances, the preferential treatment provided to donors was at the specific request of Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band.” Judicial Watch’s president, Tom Fitton, told the New York Times that “It is hard to tell where the State Department ended and where the Clinton Foundation began. They were working hand-in-glove.”It was also disclosed yesterday that the FBI found nearly 15,000 new emails that Hillary did not voluntarily turn over to the State Department last year. The FBI turned the emails over to the State Department for review. Judge James E. Boasberg of the D.C. federal district court ordered that the State Department set an accelerated timetable for the documents’ release. This judge and the judicial process now underway could influence the course of the election.Those involved in what the Clintons characterize as the “vast right-wing conspiracy” of the 1990s are likely to eagerly accept this news as merely more evidence substantiating what they long suspected. They will not easily accept any description of donations received by the Clinton Foundation as being anything other than a tactical investment to face down threats or push for market or governmental opportunities, as a means to “pay-to-play.”Here is a 10-point fact sheet (perhaps soon to be more points) compiled by the Trump/Pence campaign listing their footnoted complaints about the foundation. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani suggests that the Clinton Foundation should be indicted on racketeering charges. The Boston Globe reports that former U.S. House Speaker and Trump supporter Newt Gingrich recently had a “staggering” two-hour briefing from the Republican National Committee on the Clinton Foundation, which resulted in Gingrich calling the foundation “a corrupt institution, run for corrupt purposes.”Despite the juxtaposition of interests that constitute this enduring Achilles’ heel for the Clinton campaign, and despite the continual flow of incriminating revelations, the Clinton Foundation raised approximately $2 billion over the past 15 years for at least ostensibly philanthropic purposes. It is impossible to know whether that mighty achievement would have been possible if currying favor with the Clintons had nothing to do with it. It is also quite possible that the foundation would not be under such intense scrutiny if not for the presidential election underway. This story is rapidly changing, and the NPQ nonprofit newswire will keep readers up to date as matters progress.—James SchafferShare57TweetShare6Email63 Shares
Share7Tweet9Share1Email17 SharesVietnamese blogger Huynh Ngoc ChênhJuly 30, 2017; Vietnam Right NowCivil liberties are under threat in Vietnam, where police have intensified their crackdown on dissidents. Four more dissidents were arrested, bringing the total to 15 so far in 2017.According to Vietnam Right Now, “The four are accused of associating with the human rights lawyer, Nguyen Van Dai, who was been held without trial since December 2015.” TIME reports that “they now stand accused of attempting to ‘overthrow the people’s administration,’ a much more serious charge that can sometimes carry the death penalty.”Vietnam’s Communist party, like China’s, exercises control over social media and does not permit criticism of the government. In the past, the United States exerted pressure on governments to protect human rights, including free speech. However, the Trump administration has been lax about enforcing human rights across the globe; NPQ reported when Trump met with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, whose government is responsible for thousands of extrajudicial killings in its brutal war on drugs.Reuters reported that “activists say authorities have been emboldened by the Trump administration’s lack of emphasis on human rights [and] U.S. President Donald Trump’s early decision to drop the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal also removed a clear incentive for Hanoi to show a better rights record.”This is exactly the kind of situation that diplomats and civil rights advocates fear will become more common if the United States does not maintain its role as a human rights advocate. Alarmingly, as The Hill reported yesterday:According to an email sent to State Department employees on Friday and obtained by the [Washington Post’s] Josh Rogin, statements on the agency’s mission, purpose and ambition do not contain language regarding the promotion of democracy…Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also sought to promote the president’s “America first” agenda, explaining to State Department employees during a speech in May that promoting U.S. “values” sometimes “creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests.”Amnesty International reported that in 2016-2017 in Vietnam,Peaceful criticism of government policies continued to be silenced through judicial and extra-legal means. There was extensive surveillance and harassment of activists, including those who demonstrated against the Formosa ecological disaster which affected the lives of an estimated 270,000 people. Attacks against human rights defenders were commonplace.The protection of civil rights through diplomatic means is a core responsibility of the United State government; to suggest, as Secretary Tillerson has done, that values such as democracy and human rights promotion should be subservient to economic interests seems morally blind at best.Public dissent over the Formosa chemical leak on Vietnam’s northwest coast last year has caused alarm among Communist officials. In addition, recent changes in leadership have led to a more conservative group taking charge. These factors combined have led to greater numbers of arrests and harsher sentences for civil activists in the country.For human rights advocates everywhere, the abdication of responsibility in places like Vietnam is of grave concern. It is incumbent upon civil society to pressure our elected representatives to hold up their responsibility to protect those rights here and abroad.—Erin RubinShare7Tweet9Share1Email17 Shares
Deutsche Telekom’s chief financial officer (CFO) Timotheus Höttges has taken over from outgoing CEO René Obermann. The transition, which was first announced a year ago, came into effect from January 1, with Obermann moving to take the CEO job at Dutch cable operator Ziggo.Thomas Dannenfeldt, Deutsche Telekom’s managing director, finance and controlling, responsible for the group’s German business activities, has now taken over as CFO, the firm said in a statement.
German cable operator Tele Columbus has launched a wireless cable box, incorporating cable modem, wireless router, media server and fixed-line telephony in a single box.According to Tele Columbus, the new box will lay the groundwork for a future WLAN offering, providing public hotspots based on partitioning individual users’s WiFi clouds.The box comes with support for the 802.11ac standard and support for both 2.4GGz and 5GHz spectrum ranges. The box will be available to subscribers for €2 a month with a miminum 12-month contract.
Amazon has started to ship its HDMI TV streaming device, the Fire TV Stick, to customers in the US, claiming it to be the “fastest-selling Amazon device ever.”Amazon said that new orders of the US$39 (€31) TV streaming stick will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, with high demand for the device that will rival the likes of Google’s Chromecast device.“Fire TV Stick has been our most successful device launch ever. We built a tonne of these, but customer demand still outpaced our supply. We’re excited by the overwhelming customer response and the team is working hard to build more as quickly as possible,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president, Amazon Devices.Amazon first unveiled the Fire TV Stick last month and claims that its device has twice the memory and 50% more processing power than the US$35-priced Chromecast thanks to its dual-core processor.Fire TV Stick will include the same interface that is found on Amazon Fire TV boxes, and will allow users to access video and music services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu, WatchESPN, YouTube.com, Pandora and Spotify.Though international launch details have not been revealed for the device, Amazon’s Fire TV box is currently available in the UK and Germany, as well as the US.
Satellite operator SES’s ultra HD demo channel is now available in the UK and Ireland.The channel, broadcast on Astra 2E at 28.2° East will simulcast the UHD demonstration channel that is currently at SES’s primary European orbital position of 19.2° East. The ultra HD content is broadcast using the DVB UHD-1 Phase 1 signalling specifications and is encoded in the HEVC Main 10 standard.The channel features a mix of urban sports, exotic animals and nature and cityscape scenes, along with footage of SES’s headquarters in Betzdorf. It can be received via TVs featuring an integrated satellite tuners and an HEVC decoder.“We are delighted to have set up this demonstration channel at the prime orbital position for the UK market,” said Mike Chandler, managing director of Astra (GB) Ltd, SES’s subsidiary in the UK.“We are making use of the capacity to enable UK and Irish retailers, installers and enthusiasts to understand the technology that makes UHD possible, and what it will mean for their viewing experience. We encourage our trade partners to show our ultra HD demo channel at their points of sale for demonstration purposes.”
Ian McKenzieChannel 4 has upped its existing media project manager for nations and regions, Ian MacKenzie, to the newly created role of nations and regions manager.The appointment comes after Channel 4’s director of creative diversity, Stuart Cosgrove, announced last month that he is stepping down.MacKenzie will report to Channel 4’s deputy chief creative officer and head of factual, Ralph Lee, and will be responsible for “maximising the commissioning potential and delivery” of production companies based outside of London in working with Channel 4.
JB PerretteDiscovery Networks International said that its portfolio of channels reached 654 million viewers in Q4, a 4% year-on-year increase and its highest-ever international reach. Announcing the figures ahead of its fourth quarter earnings announcement this week, Discovery said it had a “record-setting quarter and year” with its channels and brands receiving a 10% full-year increase in average audience compared to 2013. In Q4 alone its average audience increased by 13% year-on-year to 3.2 million.“Growing our audiences and increasing our share is a guiding principle that has led to consistent global growth for the Discovery portfolio,” said Discovery Networks International president JB Perrette.“We are razor-sharp in our focus to super-serve our fans on-air and online across more than 220 countries and territories. Looking ahead to 2015, we will continue to invest in new series and specials and bring our signature high-quality content across more screens to more viewers.”A number of Discovery’s networks experienced double-digit growth, including Home and Health at 33%, Discovery Kids at 27%, Investigation Discovery at 24% and TLC at 23%.Discovery’s free-to-air portfolio delivered 661,000 viewers on average in Q4, up 12% year-on-year, while its non-US websites increasing to an average of 73 million visitors each month, up by a massive 737% compared to Q4 2013.Discovery is due to hold its fourth quarter 2014 earnings conference call on February 19 at 08.30 Eastern Time.