Top Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Check your body, save your life Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments Share Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith announced they also plan to relocate a Space Surveillance Telescope from New Mexico to an as-yet undecided location in Western Australia.Panetta described the relocation as “a major leap forward in bilateral space cooperation.”Together the radar and telescope will provide accurate tracking and identification of objects in space such as satellites and debris. The radar will be delivered in 2014 at the site of a former U.S. Navy communications base.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressPERTH, Australia (AP) – Australia will host two U.S. space surveillance systems as part of closer military ties agreed to Wednesday at a bilateral security summit.The new cooperation on space is one of a string of enhanced engagements agreed on at an annual summit attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and their Australian counterparts.The two militaries have agreed that Australia will operate a U.S. Air Force C-band ground-based radar system near the northwestern town of Exmouth. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help
56x45x25cm including handles and wheelseasyJet Plus cardholders can also take an additional bag to be placed under the seat in front of you. Maximum size 45x36x20cm 10kgOne hand luggage bag and one duty-free shopping bag purchased at the airport£12 per kilo at the airport KLMThomas Cook Aegean Airlines ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepartReturnCabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map UPDATE:easyJet’s hand luggage policy has been impacted by the UK Government’s ban on laptops and tablets in cabins, on direct flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Full details here.How can you save money on easyJet baggage allowances?Now that easyJet have done away with their guaranteed cabin baggage policy, we’ve got seven suggestions for you, to make sure you definitely won’t be caught out by baggage charges.1. Buy a new cabin bagMaking sure your bag doesn’t exceed the maximum dimensions is a given, but to have a good chance of making it into the overhead lockers, it may be time to bite the bullet and simply switch to a smaller bag. You’ll save money on checking luggage into the hold, and save on stress at the airport worrying about whether your bag is too big, (which is priceless).Where can I buy a hand luggage bag?Most luggage stores sell bags specifically designed with airline measurements in mind.Read our Skyscanner staff reviews of the best cabin bags on the market. easyJet cabin bag sizeeasyJet hand luggage weight allowanceNumber of bags allowed onboardCost to check in oversized hand luggage Get even more travel goodness straight to your inbox.Sign up Ryanair easyJet hand luggage allowance: size, weight and fees easyJet hand luggage allowanceYou’re allowed one cabin bag on board but, to make life easier, there’s no weight limit so you just need to be able to lift it into the overhead locker. To save any hassle, make sure your bag (including wheels and handles) is 56 x 45 x 25cm to fit within the easyJet hand luggage size. easyJet hold luggage allowance: size, weight and fees RelatedJet2 luggage allowance explained and how to maximise your hand luggage allowanceWhat is Jet2’s hand luggage allowance and how can you avoid paying last minute baggage fees at the airport? Get all the facts with our essential guide to Jet2 baggage.Lufthansa hand luggage explained and how to maximise your cabin baggage allowanceWhat size cabin bag can you take on a Lufthansa flight? How heavy can your luggage be and how much does checking your bags cost? Here’s everything you need to know about Lufthansa hand luggage allowance and restrictions, plus their rules on hold luggage. Oh, and we’ve got top tips…British Airways luggage allowance explained and how to maximise your cabin baggage allowanceBritish Airways recently restricted cabin luggage size: find out what the new BA cabin baggage allowance is and what their charges are for hold luggage, plus how to beat the airline fees! Dreaming of your next adventure? Fly away with some of our most popular airlines: easyJet hold baggage sizeeasyJet hold luggage weight allowanceNumber of hold bags allowedCost of easyJet hold luggage and Flybe are common alternatives on domestic flights in the UK, while Jet2 fly to popular budget destinations in Europe like Spain. Restrictions differ between them though – for example, Ryanair have a weight allowance (up to 10kg) and Hungarian airline WizzAir charge for anything larger than a laptop or a handbag. Check out our guide to luggage sizes and weight restrictions to compare more European short-haul airlines.Need more practical travel tips? Check these articles out:Airline baggage allowances and information from Skyscanner Everything you need to know about the luggage allowances with all of the UK’s major airlines including Ryanair, British Airways, Jet2 and Thomas Cook.Don’t take these on holiday! 10 tips on what not to packSave on space, save lugging your luggage around, and even go hand baggage only – take our valuable advice on what not to pack in your suitcase.Top suitcases tried and tested Looking to buy new luggage? Find out which suitcase came top in our tough test…Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.Information correct as of 1st May 2019, obtained from http://www.easyjet.com/en/help/baggage/cabin-bag-and-hold-luggage. Please always check the latest guidance at http://www.easyjet.com/en/help/baggage/cabin-bag-and-hold-luggage before booking a trip Total size of all bags must be under 275cm – add the length, width and height of bag to calculate thiseasyJet has a range of bag options 15kg, 23kg or up to 32kgUp to 3 items of hold luggage per passengerOnline £13.99 – £33.99At the airport £37 – £47These fees can vary depending on the route you’re flying and weight of the bag 2. Keep calm and carry on using your old bagInstead of panicking in the face of this revolutionary rule change, you could just carry on with your carry-on. As long as your hand luggage is within the size restrictions stated above, all easyJet are saying is that they cannot guarantee that there’ll be space for it in the cabin. If the flight is full and you’re last in the queue, you might get to the gate and they say “sorry, there’s no room at the inn, it’s going in the hold”. But really, what’s so bad about that? You won’t have to pay for it. You’ll have to wait in the baggage reclaim area for a few minutes, but hey, you might meet the love of your life at carousel C. The only real way to ensure your hand luggage stays in the cabin is to turn up bright and early for your flight. To be the first at your gate arrive at the airport with two to three hours to spare for international flights, one to one and a half hours for domestic. Check the hand luggage restrictions on the airport website before you arrive, so you don’t get held up at security. See our list of common banned items here.3. Pack light for your holidayDo you really need to take a travel iron? Can you swap four pairs of wedges for some versatile day-to-evening flats? Might there be a hairdryer at the hotel? When you’re packing your suitcase, adjust to the baggage rules by correspondingly cutting your stuff down by a third, and you might find you can squeeze your holiday wardrobe into hand luggage alone. Stick to reasonably essential items. As long as you remember your underwear and enough t-shirts you can probably get by on one pair of casual jeans and one jumper for a long weekend. And don’t forget to roll – careful packing can save you a packet. Check out our 15 packing tips as a helpful guide.4. Check in your bagYou could say that checking in your bag is loser talk (don’t let them win!) but you could also just be grown-up about the situation and accept easyJet’s rules as entirely reasonable, logical and in the interests of its passengers. Take the hit and check your travel bag into the hold: if you’re honest, you’ve probably annoyed other passengers for far too long, blocking the aisle while trying to force your case into an overhead locker.How much does easyJet charge for hold luggage?You’ll pay between £13.99 – 33.99 per item, per flight in advance online. This shoots up to £37 at the baggage drop, and a hefty £47 if you leave it until the boarding gate to admit you’re a heavy packer. If you know you’ve got something to check in, pay the fee when you book your flight.5. Become a memberFrequent flyer? Join the easyJet Plus scheme (annual fee £199) buy a FLEXI fare, or splash out a few quid on an Up Front or Extra Legroom seat, and you can bring on an additional under-seat bag like a laptop case or handbag. With Speedy Boarding you’ll also have first dibs at that oh-so valuable overhead locker space, and avoid ugly scenes in the rush for the cheap seats. But that’s all part of the fun of budget air travel, isn’t it?What are the benefits of booking a FLEXI fare ticket?These cost more than the standard fixed date tickets, but they allow you to bring more baggage: one hold bag and an extra under-seat bag no bigger than 45 x 36 x 20 cm. They allow you to change your flights with no penalty up to one week before and three weeks after your flight, as long as the new flights cost the same or less.6. Wear your luggage on the flightWe don’t mean using your suitcase as a makeshift sunhat or stuffing your rucksack down your pants. We’re talking about a new generation of ‘wearable luggage’ or ‘luggage jackets’ – essentially clothing that allows you to carry your belongings about your person when flying. Ok, in some cases you may look like a cleaner, while others are in fact rather stylish. But really, if it’s saving you money who cares? Besides, you can buy a new outfit with the money you save on check-in fees. Read our review of the best wearable luggage products around for more sneaky ways to boost your baggage allowance. 7. Use another airlineIf you object to this clampdown on cabin luggage then make a stand and fly with a different airline. There may well be a choice of carriers operating the route you’re flying. Of course, this may mean higher prices, or having to check in your bag. EasyJet’s allowance is actually pretty generous – there’s no weight limit on hand baggage. What other budget airlines are there?
04Dec House approves roads package ensuring long-term solution for state’s infrastructure Categories: News Stamas: This is a problem we can no longer ignoreThe Michigan House today approved a package of bills dedicating more than $1 billion toward fixing and maintaining the state’s roads and bridges, announced state Rep. Jim Stamas.“Residents of the 98th District have continued to express concern about our roads, not just on their condition, but also on the way improvements are funded,” said Stamas, R-Midland.“I’ve heard over and over again, the gas tax should go toward fixing our roads and bridges, and that’s what this does. It takes a common-sense approach to ensure that our road projects will be funded by gas taxes.”The package creates a structural change in the state’s transportation funding, with a focus on increased efficiency, better quality and improved fairness. The revenue-neutral package guarantees $1.2 billion to fix state and local roads without raising taxes and also guarantees that K-12 schools and local governments will not receive lower funding.“Transportation infrastructure is a problem that can’t keep being ignored, and that’s why the House continues to act on this important issue,” Stamas said. “Our roads and bridges are crumbling, and have been for decades, and we as a state cannot afford to let our road and infrastructure conditions continue to worsen. The state’s infrastructure needs immediate attention and this road funding plan creates a long-term, permanent solution.”The legislative package immediately converts the 19-cents-per-gallon gas tax to wholesale gas tax, and gradually phases out the 6-percent sales tax on gasoline over the next six years. The wholesale tax will start at 7.5 percent and rise to 13.5 percent.“A permanent, long-lasting solution is what our residents deserve, and it’s what our roads and bridges demand,” Stamas said. “Michigan currently ranks last in per-person road funding, and I’m glad we are reversing that trend to start investing more in our roads.”Stamas said this is an update to the roads plan that was passed this past May, which dedicated $500 million of existing resources to fix state and local roads.The Legislature also approved an additional $285 million for roads and bridges in June as a part of the 2015 budget. Since 2012, the Legislature has allocated nearly $870 million to improve Michigan’s infrastructure, compared to the zero general fund dollars spent on roads from 2003 to 2011.The bills now head to the Senate for consideration.###
Michigan has further improved on its already robust cybersecurity efforts after a bill proposed by state Rep. Brandt Iden of Oshtemo today was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.Iden’s bill creates the Cyber Civilian Corps Act, which allows volunteers to provide cyber-defense services to nonprofits, private businesses, educational organizations and other non-governmental entities.“The Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps is a growing project the governor created and promoted in 2013 to address the problem of cyber-attacks. The project was an effort to put Michigan on the forefront of this issue and my bill extends this work,” said Iden. “Cyber-attacks are a daily threat to our personal information and Michigan needs to be prepared to fend off these attacks with a trusted group of cyber defenders.”The Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps, also known as MiC3, works through the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget to defend network systems. The group currently consists of 63 members and hopes to expand to 200 by the end of 2018.As part of the new act, volunteers enrolled in the MiC3 program will be assigned by the DTMB to those seeking assistance in network security during a cyber event.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Brandt Iden (third from left) of Oshtemo holds a copy of newly signed House Bill 4508 with Gov. Rick Snyder during a signing ceremony on Oct. 26 in Lansing. Guests joining Iden included (from left): Rajiv Das, DTMB director of Michigan Cybersecurity; Vera Riley, constituent relations coordinator for Rep. Iden; Samantha Zandee, legislative director for Rep. Iden; Chad Laidlaw, DTMB Michigan Cybersecurity; Brett Emery, MiC3 volunteer; David DeVries, DTMB director and chief information officer; Gen. Michael Stone, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; Inspector Troy Allen, Michigan State Police; Detective/Lt. Jay Poupard, Michigan State Police; Kerry DeBano, DTMB legislative liaison and Sgt. Matt Williams, Michigan State Police legislative liaison. 26Oct Rep. Iden bill increasing abilities for state’s cybersecurity volunteers becomes law Categories: Iden News,News
State Rep. Gary Glenn and the Michigan House today approved a measure to require able-bodied adults to work, prepare for a job or do community service for at least 80 hours a month to keep Medicaid welfare coverage.“The original intent of the Medicaid program is to help provide health care for those unable to help themselves – children, seniors, and the disabled without the means for other coverage,” Glenn said. “None of these recipients are affected by this plan and they keep their benefits. All this does is require healthy, able-bodied adults to work, train for a job or serve the community in exchange for a benefit financed by hard-working Michigan taxpayers. We already require this for food and cash assistance welfare programs, so expanding this to health care is an entirely consistent and overdue change.”Glenn (R-Williams Township) last December was the first to introduce a plan in the House similar to the Senate bill approved today.Four other states already have added Medicaid work engagement rules and many others are planning to do so.The House-approved plan generally would apply to able-bodied adults who only became eligible for coverage under the state’s Obamacare-related expansion of the program, called the Healthy Michigan Plan. Some already have jobs and would not need to make changes to continue receiving benefits.“I am proud to know a young woman we consider a member of our family who holds down three jobs,” Glenn said. “All we are asking here is that able-bodied adults hold down one.”The workforce engagement requirements do not affect children, seniors or the disabled. There also are multiple exemptions for able-bodied adults including pregnancy, parents with children under 6, caretakers of a disabled dependent, full-time students and those on unemployment. There also is discretion to grant temporary exemptions for other good causes.The measure also requires able-bodied adults who have been in the Healthy Michigan Plan for more than four years to take steps to improve their own health – such as quitting smoking or completing a health risk assessment — and contribute financially to their coverage.Senate Bill 897 returns to the Senate for further consideration.#### 06Jun Rep. Glenn votes in favor of work requirements for Medicaid welfare coverage Categories: Glenn News,News
12Jun Rep. Hornberger’s plan updating driver’s license or state ID has been signed into law Categories: Hornberger News,News Legislation introduced by state Rep. Pamela Hornberger to align state identification cards with federal guidelines and bring the state into compliance with federal requirements was signed into law this week by Gov. Rick Snyder.Current Michigan law does not allow for a license expiration date to align with the expiration date of an individual’s visa.“This plan aligns state identification cards with the federal visa system,” said Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township.Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, all Michigan residents will need to present a REAL ID-compliant document to fly within the United States and enter certain federal facilities.In total, 27 states including Washington, D.C. are compliant with the law.House Bill 5686 is now Public Act 176 of 2018.###
25Jan LaFave introduces three new bills State Rep. Beau LaFave this week introduced legislation to address a range of issues important to families across the Upper Peninsula.LaFave, of Iron Mountain, said House Bill 4092 will protect animals locked inside hot and freezing cold cars by granting criminal immunity to individuals who break a window to help a distressed animal.“If someone sees a dog in a hot car struggling to breathe, they shouldn’t have to worry about going to jail if they need to break a window,” LaFave said. “This will save the lives of animals that might otherwise be left to suffer and die.”The Good Samaritan must first call police and try to locate the owner before taking action. The plan has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where the representative serves as vice chair.House Bill 4091 offers all communities throughout Michigan an incentive to develop or rehabilitate properties by expanding the Neighborhood Enterprise Zone (NEZ) Program. The NEZ program allows local units of government to temp cap property taxes for a fixed number of years to encourage redevelopment and reinvestment in blighted areas.“Across Michigan, there are blighted communities with little hope of redevelopment,” LaFave said. “We must institute change and make this successful program available to all communities to breathe new life into once-thriving neighborhoods.”Under current law, only a handful of cities in Michigan are eligible for the program. Out of the three counties in LaFave’s House district, only Iron Mountain is currently eligible for the NEZ, while Kingsford, Menominee, Escanaba and all other local units of government are prohibited from participating.LaFave’s proposal also updates monetary thresholds for qualifying projects to adjust for inflation.“Our local leaders, not Lansing, know best what areas in their communities need revitalization and redevelopment,” LaFave said. “My legislation levels the playing field for U.P. communities and adds more local control.”The plan has been referred to the House Commerce and Tourism Committee for consideration.House Bill 4090 prohibits the firing of a police officer because they have called for backup.Under the plan, local law enforcement personnel will be allowed to carry out their sworn duty of protecting and defending Michigan communities, and cannot be disciplined or terminated because they called federal immigration and customs enforcement when they feel it is necessary.“Our police officers’ solemn responsibility is to protect the people of the state of Michigan,” LaFave said. “Our brave women and men of law enforcement should never be exploited for political purposes. My plan allows them to call in for reinforcements from their federal partners without fear of political retribution.”A companion bill authored by state Rep. Pamela Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township, has also been introduced. The two bills have been referred to the House Military, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security Committee, where LaFave serves as the chair.### Categories: LaFave News
State Rep. Greg Markkanen discusses a plan to lower car insurance rates with a colleague before the House took the historic vote today.State Rep. Greg Markkanen today joined his colleagues in approving a bipartisan plan to significantly lower car insurance rates for drivers across the state.The House overwhelmingly voted to approve legislation guaranteeing lower rates by giving drivers more choice on personal injury protection coverage, stopping price gouging on medical services for car accident victims, and combating fraudulent claims. The plan should soon head to the governor for her expected signature.Markkanen, of Hancock, said the bipartisan solution is designed to end Michigan’s long tenure as the state with the most expensive car insurance rates in the nation.“The high cost of Michigan’s car insurance is one of the most common complaints I hear from people in our community,” Markkanen said. “We’ve listened to their concerns and produced a solution that will make driving more affordable for families and seniors in the Upper Peninsula and all across Michigan.”Michigan’s costs are high largely because it’s the only state mandating unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance. The bipartisan reform plan allows those currently using the coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it – while providing more affordable choices.### Categories: Markkanen News 24May Rep. Markkanen, House approve bipartisan solution to lower car insurance rates
Google’s pay TV service in the US city of Kansas could roll out within months, according to reports. The internet giant has announced that, under the moniker of Google Fiber, it would roll out a fiber-optic network delivering ultra high-speed internet to residents of Kansas City.The Wall Street Journal has now reported that Google has applied for the relevant licences to launch a local subscription TV service and quoted an unnamed Google executive as saying it could launch within months.
German cable operator Tele Columbus has launched a new HD package, DigitalTV Plus HD, replacing the previous DigitalTV Komplett offering.DigitalTV Extra HD includes four HD channels – Geographic HD, AXN HD, Spiegel TV Wissen and Fox HD – and 24 SD channels for €15.99.
BSkyB’s Sky Sports has signed a new agreement with UEFA to air Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 football qualifier coverage for the England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland teams.The UK sports network has taken rights to up to 500 international matches over three years as part of the deal – including highlights for England qualifiers and full match coverage for the Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland matches.Separately ITV announced that it would exclusively show live coverage of all England’s international matches for the Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup qualifying competitions.
Trace CEO, Olivier LaouchezEurope-based channel group, Trace, has launched a new Portuguese-language music network in Angola and Mozambique.Trace Toca went live this week on MultiChoice’s digital satellite TV service DStv in the two countries at slot number 595 on the EPG. It is available on DStv’s ‘Bue’ (Premium), ‘Grande’ (Compact) and ‘Facil’ (Access) packages.The channel, which is dedicated to afro-lusophone music and culture, will air popular music from Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Brazil and the Caribbean – covering music genres such as kizomba, kuduro, zouk, cabo love, semba, samba, afro house, afro pop.“Angola and Mozambique are among the most creative and prolific countries for music in Africa. Trace is already very popular in these two countries thanks to our pan-African TV feeds: Trace Urban and Trace Sport Stars. Nevertheless, the unique afro-lusophone cultural identity requires a dedicated music channel specially made to match the tastes of the local music fans,” said Trace Group co-founder, chairman and CEO, Olivier Laouchez.“In partnership with the DStv teams in Angola and Mozambique, we have built Trace Toca with the ambition to complement the existing music offering and to engage music lovers in a new and great local music experience. This is a fantastic project that will become a fantastic channel.”MultiChoice CEO, Nico Meyer, said: “We are always excited when we launch new channels on our platform. This ensures the continuity of an excellent programming offer and demonstrates our commitment to provide the best to our subscribers.”Earlier this year, Modern Times Group agreed to buy a 75% controlling stake in the youth-orientated Trace group for €30 million. The deal closed last month after receiving regulatory approval from the French media authorities.
Breaking BadThe ability to access large back catalogues of movies and TV series are the top reasons consumers sign up for subscription video-on-demand services both in the UK and the US, according to research by GfK, with movie catalogues particularly important for UK subscribers.According to GfK, two third of UK subscribers listed access to back catalogues of movies as a reason to sign up for SVoD, compared with 58% of Americans. Accessing back catalogues of TV shows was cited by 56% of US subscribers and 50% of UK subscribers.Other reasons cited to sign up for SVoD were to access new movies releases, cited by 47% of UK users and 44% of US customers, the ability to watch at a time that suits and the ability to watch multiple episodes of series in a row.Breaking Bad was the most watched programme on SVoD in the UK during the 13 weeks of GfK’s survey, accounting for 11.9% of all streams, followed by Dexter and Prison Break with 4% and 3.5% respectively. In the US, House of Cards topped the list, accounting for 4.6% of streams, followed by Breaking Bad and Dexter with 4.3% and 3.8% respectively.
Bob IgerDisney CEO Bob Iger has signed a new deal, which will keep him at the Hollywood Studio until June 30, 2018.Iger is currently chairman and CEO of Disney. He became company president in 2000 and chief executive in 2005 after the exit of Michael Eisner. He has overseen the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. He is currently chairman and CEO.Disney said that Iger had renewed his deal on the same terms. The Disney chief had previously said he would retire in 2016.“Bob Iger is the architect of Disney’s current success, with a proven history of delivering record financial results for the company quarter after quarter and year after year,” said Orin C. Smith, independent lead director of the Disney Board. “He has transformed Disney’s culture and empowered its businesses to effectively capitalize on evolving markets and new technologies, making Disney a company that doesn’t merely embrace change, but leads it.
BT’s £12.5 billion (€16.7 billion) buyout of UK mobile operator EE has gained final approval, without conditions, from the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).The green light means the companies will now close the deal on January 29, with EE’s current owners Deutsche Telekom and Orange to receive 12% and 4% of BT’s shares respectively.BT welcomed the CMA’s decision today, with CEO Gavin Patterson commenting: “We are pleased they have found there to be no significant lessening of competition following an in-depth investigation lasting more than ten months.”Patterson said that BT and EE combined will be a “digital champion for the UK”, providing investment and innovation to the market.Deutsche Telekom said that integrating the two companies will provide UK customers with innovative services that “combine the power of fibre broadband with Wi-i and advanced mobile capabilities.”Deutsche Telekom CEO, Timotheus Höttges, said: “We look forward to supporting BT with relevant expertise to help generate the anticipated value growth of its integrated business model.”The CMA said that a “range of concerns” were voiced about combining the UK’s largest fixed telecoms and its largest mobile telecoms businesses, but it had decided that the merger is “not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the UK.”“The retail mobile services market in the UK is competitive, with four main mobile providers and a substantial number of smaller operators. As BT is a smaller operator in mobile, it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect. Similarly, EE is only a minor player in retail broadband, so again it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect in this market,” said CMA inquiry chair, John Wotton.BT first agreed its buyout of EE last February and the deal was provisionally approved by the CMA in October.
Pay TV broadcaster African Movie Channel has launched its AMC Series channel on Tanzania-based pay TV operator Azam TV’s platform.The move means that Azam TV subscribers will be able to watch Nollywood and other premium African TV series spanning drama, comedy, reality and lifestyle genres.The addition of AMC Series complements the 24-hour African Movie Channel dedicated to Nollywood movies, which has been available on Azam TV since 2013.Azam TV is currently available via satellite in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Ghana. The platform offers about 80 channels including eight free-to-view services.AMC founding partners Lola Onigbogi and Yinka Mayungbo said: “With this second channel launch on its platform, Azam has strongly reaffirmed its belief in brand AMC. Our vision is for every TV household on the continent to have the opportunity to watch both our channels, AMC and AMC Series, and enjoy a wide range of exciting but wholesome local family programming – this launch moves us one step closer to realising that vision.”Tido Mhando, CEO of Azam Media Limited said, “We are delighted to extend our long-standing partnership with AMC. Their movie channel has consistently remained a top performer on our platform, and our subscribers have been making it clear to us at every opportunity that AMC Series needed to join the action.”
Hamburg-based Bubbles Media has launched Bobbles.tv, a new satellite and OTT-delivered pay TV service with bouquets aimed at Chinese and Indonesian expatriates living in Europe, with services targeting Korean and Vietnamese speakers to follow in November.Versions of both the Chinese and Indonesian services are available on SES’s Astra satellite platform at 19.2° East, with more extensive offerings available on the web. Subscribers can purchase a Bobbles.tv smartcard to view either service, and both are available in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. The satellite version of the Chinese service comprises five channels – Zhejiang TV, Dragon TV, Guangdong TV, Dopool Drama and Dopool Kids.An expanded version with 18 channels is available via OTT, along with a catch-up service, viewable via PCs, tablets and smartphones.Channels on the OTT service include CCTV 1, CCTV 4, Hunan TV, Zhejiang TV, Dragon TV, Anhui TV, Guangdong TV, Southeast TV, Shenzhen TV, Dopool Drama, Dopool Movie, Dopool Kids, Dopool Entertainment, CCTV 9 Documentary, Dopool Knowledge, CCTV 11 Opera, CCTV 2 and Chinese Food.The service, which is available for €14.95 a month, includes general and specialist channels spanning movies, series, educational and factual programming, with other channels set to join in the future.Dopool International works with Chinese broadcast organisations China Central Television (CCTV), China Network Television (CNTV), China Radio International (CRI), China Broadcast Corporation (CBC), China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting (CMMB), Hunan TV, and Zhejiang TV original programming, among others.“As more and more Chinese are living abroad, for various reasons, the ability to keep up with their favourite TV programmes is nearly impossible. The partnership between Dopool and bobbles.tv will bring the comforts of home to Chinese – wherever they may be,” said Chris Zhang, founder and CEO of Dopool International.The Indonesian satellite package comprises four channels – MNC Channel, drama Channel, MNC Infotainment and MNC World News.As is the case with the Chinese option, an expanded version of the Indonesian bouquet is available via OTT as well as satellite, comprising seven channels – and DMCtv.– available for €6.95. A catch-up option is not currently available, but Bubbles Media says that one will be launched later.The Indonesian service is being launched in partnership with MNC Media, which owns a catalogue of about 265,000 hours of content.Arnold Kulbatzki, founder and CEO of Bobbles.tv said: “Bobbles.tv offers international communities a convenient way to receive their favourite TV channels anywhere in Europe – via satellite or over the internet, live or as catch-up TV using media libraries. Bobbles.tv customers only pay for the programming that they are really interested in: attractive television from their home countries. A single subscription grants access to almost every relevant TV channel from home.”Bubbles Media, based in Hamburg, has a staff of 15, primarily comprising native speakers from the communities that the service is targeting.Kulbatzki was previously executive partner at A2B Media GmbH and founder and member of the board at Mallorca, Spain-based call centre operator CCES24. Co-founder Torsten Rossmann was partner of the news and documentary broadcaster N24 and is managing director of WeltN24 GmbH, a subsidiary of Axel Springer, Germany.
The DVB steering board has approved final revisions and updates to the DVB UHD-1 specification. The standards body says the UHD-1 standard is now complete.The revisions and updates pertain to DVB-DASH, audiovisual coding and bitmapped subtitles. The DVB approved the revision of ETSI TS 103 285, the DVB MPEG-DASH Profile for Transport of DVB Services over IP Based Networks. This now supports the provision of live text messages and slideshows for use with Hybrid Digital Radio; support for linking interactive applications to broadcast services delivered by DVB-DASH as well as HDR, higher frame-rates and next-generation audio.Peter MacAvockThe DVB also approved amendments to TS 101 154, the DVB video and audio coding specification. The amended specification contains H.264/AVC and HEVC video conformance points for use with MPEG DASH. These are aligned with the broadcast codec conformance points, supporting a similar feature set, but take into account the specific requirements of adaptive bitrate delivery over IP-based networks, according to the DVB.Finally, amendments to DVB Subtitling Systems (ETSI EN 300 743) add explicit support of subtitling for UHDTV services, as defined in ETSI TS 101 154 and ETSI EN 300 468.Peter MacAvock, DVB chairman said: “UHD is a key part of many broadcasters’ portfolios. DVB has worked tirelessly to finalize a comprehensive set of specifications for UHD. While work continues, DVB is certain that broadcasters can confidently implement UHD on the basis of its specifications.”The DVB has struggled to secure universal agreement on HDR as part of its UHD-1 Phase 2 specs. HDR is the element of UHD that gives extra ‘sparkle’ to images by increasing the brightness of highlights and detail in the blacks.The DVB last year agreed the inclusion of the Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) system developed by the BBC and NHK, which is compatible with SDR TV sets and designed with live broadcast in mind, supported alongside the Perceptual Quantizer (PQ-10) system developed by Dolby and favoured by some movie studios and Netflix.Some companies have however requested the inclusion of add additional dynamic metadata to both systems in the spec.
Self-styled YouTube-meets-Reddit video-on-demand service Vidme is to shut down, citing competition from Google and Facebook.The US-based streaming service, which provided videos curated by community members across a range of categories, was created in 2014 and claimed at its peak to have close to one million registered content creators and 25 million unique monthly users.Vidme has disabled new sign-ups and uploads to its site. Existing videos will be playable and exportable until December 15, after which they will be permanently deleted from Vidme’s servers.The company has suspended all of its paid-for subscription services. Subscription videos will be available only to their creators. Vidme said it would pay out any outstanding earnings on verification within 90 days.In a blog posting, founder and CEO Warren Shaeffer said that the service had been unable to “find a path to sustainability”.Vidme introduced drag-and-drop publishing of videos and raised finance from the likes of NEA, Upfront Ventures, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, SV Angel and Mucker Capital.Shaeffer said that Vidme has delivered over six billion views to audiences globally to date. He said the service became one of the top 1,000 most popular destinations on the web, reaching over 200 million people annually.Identifying reasons for Vidme’s demise, Shaeffer said that advertisers increasingly want to target specific audiences, putting services that don’t store deep personal data at a disadvantage. Facebook and Google, which have mastered this, now control 60% of online advertising spend in the US.Shaeffer said that advertisers also want to ensure that their products are promoted alongside ‘brand-safe’ content, which is expensive and difficult to monitor, and that few advertisers are wishing to negotiate direct deals with platforms that don’t have the scale of the global giants.Vidme was also over-optimistic in projecting that CDN and data storage costs would decline rapidly. While this has happened to some extent, Shaeffer said that Vidme’s costs “still outpaced our ability to generate meaningful revenue”.Shaeffer also said that the definition of scale had changed since Vidme’s launch, with eight out of 10 of the most popular apps now being owned by Google or Facebook.“Both Facebook and YouTube also actively deprecate content shared from competing platforms,” said Shaeffer, highlighting the decline in Vidme’s social traffic “once Facebook began to prioritise its native player”.When Facebook and Instagram began “aggressively soliciting video content and courting video creators”, he said, Vidme’s prospects further deteriorated.“When we started we knew that we were taking a calculated risk, but in hindsight we underestimated the speed with which the competitive landscape would change,” said Shaeffer.Shaeffer said that despite the collapse of Vidme, his team would more forward with plans to launch a new- undisclosed product, next year.
Telefonica has demonstrated a new immersive real-time video experience around the 9th stage of the Vuelta a Espana cycling race as part of its 5G Technology Cities initiative.For the demonstration, former Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana winner Pedro Delgado has completed a circuit of the race viewing only images captured by a helmet-mounted camera and projected onto virtual reality glasses.The head-mounted camera transmitted images from the course and transmits them to the virtual reality glasses using pre-5G technology.According to Telefonica, the camera behaves like the human eye and substitutes the cyclist’s vision with an immersive image that arrives in the glasses in real time, enabling the cyclist to navigate the road.According to the telco, the pre-5G network at Talavera de la Reina, where the demonstration was carried out, uses a Distributed Core Network that allows a significant reduction in latency, making it practicable to process the environs of the user in real-time.The demo required latency of less than 40 milliseconds. Telefonica said the technology could be applied to a wide range of applications, including entertainment and sport, with immersive video experiences in stadiums or augmented reality experiences in real time.