The Arizona Cardinals announced Wednesday that the team signed rookie free agent running back Damien Thigpen. Thigpen gained 686 yards of total offense and scored five touchdowns in his UCLA career. On special teams, he returned 27 kickoffs for 640 yards and made 18 tackles. In a corresponding roster move, the Cardinals released wide receiver Kevin Smith, who was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in May. Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Only medical supplies will be carried on Wednesday to Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the north as breakaway Turkish Cypriot authorities insist on taxing other goods, the UN said.The decision to tax food supplies and other items like baby diapers was enforced by Turkish Cypriots last week. The UN carries the supplies to the so-called enclaved every Wednesday.“There has been no further developments since we issued our press statement. At this stage we have nothing further to add to that we have said already,” Unficyp spokesperson Aleem Siddique told the Cyprus News Agency.Last Wednesday, Unficyp said it was forced to limit the day’s delivery to medical aid supplies, following the Turkish Cypriot administration’s unilateral decision to impose taxes and fees on other humanitarian goods.“Unficyp regrets the decision taken by the Turkish Cypriot administration, which it considers to be an unfortunate development.”Delivering humanitarian assistance in the northern part of the island was based on a longstanding agreement between the sides known as Vienna III, “and provides hundreds of elderly and other vulnerable people with basic supplies on a weekly basis.”Turkish Cypriots argue that the agreement no longer applied, especially since the opening of access points in 2003.The government has said it was trying to ensure the supplies got to the enclaved and was concentrating on efforts to reverse the decision, which has also exposed a rift in the Turkish Cypriot administration.Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has publicly criticised ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu for imposing the tax, saying it was akin to shooting oneself in the foot.At the end of the second phase of the Turkish invasion late in August 1974, about 20,000 Greek and Maronite Cypriots living in villages and townships primarily in the Karpas peninsula in the northeast and in villages west of Kyrenia remained behind the ceasefire line.According to April 2013 figures, only 437 people remain – 328 Greek Cypriots and 109 Maronite Cypriots. These persons are known as the ‘enclaved’.You May LikeLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Search For 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndoDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoOur View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
The Cyprus Institute graduate school is pleased to announce its summer internship programme for summer 2018. The purpose of the programme is to expose young talented students and scholars to an international research experience and to encourage and inspire them in the pursuit of a scientific career. Interns will have the opportunity to carry out research supervised by a mentor, to be introduced to the use of the latest methods and techniques and to have access to the state-of-the-art facilities of The Cyprus Institute.Students may select from a list of projects we have posted on the website, or they may propose their own project, provided we have the supervisory capacity and facilities to accommodate it.In addition to the many research oriented projects listed in the link below, there are also administrative focused options in Higher Education Administration for students interested in the day-to-day operation of the graduate school or other administrative units in the institute.The summer internship programme is approximately eight weeks long and will take place during the period from June 1 until September 30.Applicants must be university students or recent graduates with an excellent academic background, a strong interest in the related field and good knowledge of English. More information about the programme, along with the online application form can be found on the graduate school summer internships page www.cyi.ac.cy.You May LikeCar NovelsNo One Buys These SUVs But They Are The Best On The MarketCar NovelsUndoRefinance24x7California: 7 Surprising Discounts Seniors Only Get If They AskRefinance24x7UndoMarie Claire | HanacureThe Facial That Celebrities Say Takes 10 Years Off Your FaceMarie Claire | HanacureUndo Morphou bishop now claims gay men have a ‘nasty smell’UndoIran’s Revolutionary Guards publish purported exchange with British warshipUndoVerstappen wins crazy German Grand PrixUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
US Senator Robert Menendez on Tuesday spoke of a new era in Cyprus-US relations after a meeting at the presidential palace in Nicosia with President Nicos Anastasiades, a week after announcing that a bipartisan bill seeking to lift the US arms embargo on Cyprus, which has been in place since 1987, had been tabled in Washington.After the meeting, Menendez told reporters had “an excellent meeting” with Anastasiades, and that he himself has had a long relationship with Cyprus.“We talked about many important subjects, Easter Mediterranean’s security strategy, energy strategy, Cyprus’ continuous engagement with the United States, questions of our foreign policy in the region, economic questions, the changing dynamics of Cyprus in its banking zone,” Menendez said.He added that they also had “a very extensive, very positive discussion and I look forward to continue deepening the relation between the United States and Cyprus”.“I think there is a great moment for Cyprus to find a whole new day in its relationship not only with the United States but with the West.”The bipartisan bill was introduced by Democrat Menendez of New Jersey, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.In an announcement, the two Senators said what has been termed the ‘Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019’ would “lift the prohibition on arms sales to the Republic of Cyprus, authorise the establishment of a United States-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Centre to facilitate energy cooperation between the US, Israel, Greece, and Cyprus.It would also authorise $3,000,000 in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance for Greece, $2,000,000 for International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance for Greece and $2,000,000 for Cyprus.The bill also seeks to impede the transfer of F-35 aircraft to Turkey, as long as Turkey continues with plans to purchase the S-400 air defence system from the Russian Federation, a purchase that would be sanctionable under US law.It would also require the US administration to submit to Congress a strategy on enhanced security and energy cooperation with countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as reports on malign activities by Russia and other countries in the region.The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 would allow the US to fully support the trilateral partnership of Israel, Greece, and Cyprus through energy and defence cooperation initiatives – including by lifting the embargo on arms transfers to the Republic of Cyprus.The legislation also seeks to update US strategy in recognition of consequential changes in the Eastern Mediterranean, including the recent discovery of large natural gas fields, “and a deterioration of Turkey’s relationship with the United States and our regional partners.”Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said the issue was not related with any plans to buy American military hardware but the arms embargo created a dissonance in strategic relations between Nicosia and Washington.It was also important, he added that the bill was tabled by both major political parties in the US, something that “improves the possibilities and shows that this is a national issue for Cyprus and the United States”.Anastasiades and Menendez had reviewed the strategic relationship and partnerships developed by Cyprus, as a state that guarantees stability and security in the region with neighbouring countries such as Egypt, Lebanon and especially Israel and its role as an extension of the EU to the Eastern Mediterranean.“All this also serves the geostrategic interest of the US, especially since it is now being strengthened with the specific energy interests of US companies operating in Cyprus,” he said.Prodromou also said Anastasiades had raised the issue of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus Unficyp, and had pointed that any changes to the force’s mandate posed a risk to stability on the island.There have been fears of drastic changes to Unficyp’s role since the US decided to review its position vis-à-vis UN peacekeeping and suggested linking the continued presence of missions to political progress in varying disputes. Cyprus has the longest-serving UN force in the world, having a presence on the island since 1964.Prodromou also said that as regards the Cyprus issue, Anastasiades had asked Menendez for help in putting pressure on Turkey “to change its attitude and cooperate in the attempt to resume negotiations”.“It was a very good meeting, and through senator Menendez, who is a very good friend of Cyprus we expect that he will continue, not only at the level of the US government, but also in the parliamentary bodies, especially in the Senate, the good work done for Cyprus – US relations,” Prodromou said.Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot press reported on Tuesday that the lifting of the US arms embargo on Cyprus would trigger an armaments race in the Eastern Mediterranean and would be tantamount to adding fuel to the fire, the Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign ministry’s said.In an announcement, it said the statements made by the US Senators who had prepared the bill, “and by the Greek Cypriot leadership” was aggressive and threatened peace and stability on the island.“As we continuously stress, the climate of stability and peace in the area and in our island is very important for the Turkish Cypriot side and we are ready to promote any kind of steps for cooperation to be taken in this direction,” said the statement.It expressed the hope that the draft would be rejected in the relevant congressional committees as had happened with other similar drafts, and that the US Congress would instead call on the sides concerned to take steps which would promote regional cooperation. 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13Jun Rep. Marino spearheads legislation increasing filing fees for politicians Categories: Marino News Funds to be returned to local communitiesState Rep. Steve Marino (R-Harrison Township) today introduced legislation as part of a six-bill package to increase filing fees for candidates seeking election to various offices.Marino said the fees have not been adjusted since 1954, when they were set at $100. If the $100 fee was adjusted for inflation, it would be nearly $900 today, he said.“In 1954, a gallon of gas cost 22 cents and the cost of the average car was just $1,700,” Marino said. “Michigan’s taxpayers are paying more and their public servants shouldn’t be treated any differently.”The bill package introduced today would make the following adjustments to the filing fee candidates are allowed to pay in lieu of circulating a nominating petition:Increase the fee for candidates seeking the office of state representative or state senator to $400.Increase the fee for candidates seeking the offices of county clerk, register of deeds, treasurer, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, surveyor, coroner or county road commissioner to $200.Establish a $150 filing fee for candidates seeking the township offices of supervisor, treasurer, clerk, and trustee.In addition, the bill package will establish that the fees are nonrefundable and shall remain in the general fund of the county or township where they are filed. Under current law, the fee is refunded to the nominated and runner-up candidates.“Vehicle registration fees aren’t refunded and neither should filing fees for public office,” Marino said.Marino also noted that no one is required to pay filing fees; all candidates seeking election have the option to circulate a petition.“This legislation will not exclude anyone from running for office because they can’t afford the fee,” Marino said. “It simply increases the fees for candidates who choose not to circulate a petition.”House Bills 4745-4750 have been referred to the House Elections and Ethics Committee for consideration.###
Categories: LaFave News The Michigan House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved legislation authored by state Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Mountain.LaFave’s measure requires air ambulance operations to give nonemergency patients a notice to be signed before sending an air ambulance to discuss all methods of transportation and costs. Many times, patients are transported to hospitals by air ambulance without having a say or knowing the costs.Air ambulance companies currently participate in “balance billing” where the patient’s health care provider will pay for a portion of the bill, but not its entirety. This leaves patients with medical bills in the tens of thousands of dollars.“I’m proud of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for voting with patients and the people of the state of Michigan,” LaFave said. “This bill package is a small step in the right direction toward lowering health care costs and increasing transparency.”House Bill 5219 now moves to the Senate for consideration. 06Dec Rep. LaFave’s air ambulance legislation flies through House
The Michigan House today approved a plan to combat the ongoing shortage of psychiatry workers in Berrien County and across Michigan.Representative Wendzel voted in favor of the bill after speaking to representatives of the Berrien County Health Department on their recent trip to Lansing.“Having a shortage of mental health professionals in our area is a very big deal,” Wendzel said. “Members of our community are forced to travel great distances to receive the care they need and deserve. This is a good first step in the right direction, and I was proud to vote for this legislation.”The bill would allow certain retired mental health professionals to come back to work with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) without forfeiting their pension benefits.The state already allows retired psychiatrists to continue to keep their pensions during reemployment with the state. This bill will extend this opportunity to other mental health care professionals such as physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, counselors and therapists to combat serious shortages in such roles.House Bill 4156 now moves to be considered by the state Senate. Categories: Wendzel News 16Apr House approves plan to combat psych worker shortage
24May Rep. Miller votes for impactful no-fault reforms in historic bipartisan deal Drivers to save money through choice while maintaining key protectionsState Rep. Aaron Miller, of Sturgis, joined House legislators today in giving legislative approval to a proposal that brings lower car insurance prices to residents and families across the state, primarily through consumer choice.The plan guarantees lower rates for all drivers in Michigan, mending the state’s broken no-fault system and reducing what currently is the highest average car insurance premium in the nation. The average premium is also twice as high as in neighboring states such as Indiana. The bill offers personal injury coverage options, fights fraud and abuse, and addresses medical costs.“It’s still surreal, but we have actually crafted a no-fault reform bill successfully in the Michigan Legislature for the first time in over 40 years,” Miller said. “Drivers in this state have never even had a choice in their level of PIP coverage under this system. This reform is going to help keep people in our state and keep border communities viable with less strain on budgets.”Michigan’s costs are high largely because it’s the only state mandating unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance. The House plan allows those currently using the unlimited coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it – all while providing more affordable choices.“Just let drivers do what they want,” Miller said. “That’s all we’ve ever wanted.”SB 1 will soon be reviewed by the governor.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Aaron Miller (left), of Sturgis, looks over SB 1 with state Rep. Brad Paquette, of Niles, during House session on Friday. The landmark plan makes needed changes to Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system. Categories: Miller News,News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 15, 2014; The Next WebLinkedIn’s new volunteer marketplace at volunteer.linkedin.com launched yesterday with searchable postings for unpaid volunteer positions around the world. More than 330 of the initial postings were for positions at U.S.-based, 501(c)(3) organizations, with 22 of the postings for positions in the United Kingdom.Potential volunteers can search for opportunities based on keywords, organization, position title, and location. Volunteers can even “Apply Now” for positions.Volunteering matters, argues LinkedIn. The company indicates on its website that “forty-one percent of LinkedIn hiring managers consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience when evaluating candidates” and “unemployed people who volunteer are 27 percent more likely to be hired than people who do not volunteer.”The focus, it appears, may be on professional-level volunteer activities. LinkedIn offers instructions to potential volunteers to signal on their personal profile openness to volunteer opportunities. One can signal availability either for board service or for pro-bono consulting. Likewise, nonprofits can post positions for board members with specific expertise. For example, the United Way of San Luis Obispo County is currently looking for a board member with fundraising expertise.Nonprofits pay a “nominal fee” for posting volunteer positions. “Yes, we are charging a nominal fee to help with quality and fraud control when you post,” a LinkedIn spokesperson told Ingrid Lunden of TechCrunch. “We are investing all revenue directly back to the nonprofit sector, to increase the liquidity of the postings.”A number of the initial postings have been populated from other volunteer matching websites. For example, as of yesterday afternoon, the Taproot Foundation had posted 92 positions, CatchAFire had posted 58, and VolunteerMatch had posted 7. This appears to be a strategic effort, but we wonder what relationship has been struck with the excellent Idealist.org, which is now the go-to site for many prospective volunteers and organizations in need of them.Early nonprofit adopters include a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, such as:San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, San Diego, CACare Village, Los Angeles, CAEast Valley, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Chandler, AZGirl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri, Inc., Kansas City, MOAs with for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations have long had the option of setting up LinkedIn company profiles, and given this new development, these profiles may become even more useful. LinkedIn profiles allow the nonprofit to upload a photo and to provide background information on their mission and programs. LinkedIn members—and now potential volunteers—can follow nonprofit profiles and get updates in via the news stream.Some nonprofits argue that setting up social media profiles in general, and on LinkedIn in particular, can be time-consuming and divert staff away from “real work.” This may be true; however, one benefit of profiles to the nonprofit is that it becomes easy to identify who is in your network. As with other LinkedIn functions, the volunteer marketplace allows nonprofits to see what other members are 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-degree connections. This, of course, will appeal to prospecting development directors and volunteer administrators.Volunteers that are matched to nonprofits via LinkedIn postings bring the same risks as would be encountered anywhere. Volunteers need to be screened before placement, especially when the work includes contact with high-risk populations.—Jennifer Amanda JonesShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 8, 2014; Washington Post and WRICHere’s a “no good deed goes unpunished” story from ABC News and the Washington Post.The city of Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., is cracking down on charity carwashes under new state storm water permit regulations. Given the popularity of carwashes with community-based nonprofits, the move could also affect charities elsewhere.The Post and the local ABC affiliate reported that a Boy Scout troop in Arlington was planning a carwash fundraiser for a weeklong canoe trip this summer. But the new regulations forced their scoutmaster to change plans and find the money elsewhere.Virginia and other states across the U.S. use permitting programs under the Clean Water Act to mitigate the pollution flowing with storm water into streams and rivers. Those regulations have recently become more stringent due to Chesapeake Bay cleanup requirements in the Washington area, but they are not unique, and have long been enforced in the Southwest and California.Arlington was the first Virginia municipality to renew its program under those tougher regulations, and is cracking down on carwash fundraisers, which inject detergent and oil into the storm water system. Other jurisdictions are considering similar restrictions, says the Post.A spokesperson for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation says while a carwash seems harmless enough, the impact of polluted run-off from every school group and scout troop that holds a carwash adds up. What also adds up is the potential impact this could have on a time-tested American grassroots fundraising activity.The decision drew national criticism from conservative websites, including that of the Heritage Foundation, as an example of government overreach. The permit process allows individuals to wash their cars on their driveways and requires special filtration and recycling systems for commercial carwashes, but does not allow group activities where the wastewater goes into storm drains.Some regulators look the other way; others focus on educating people about cleaner ways to have carwashes, such as holding them on a field where the water can be filtered through the soil, by using biodegradable soaps, or partnering with a commercial carwash.This is a classic example of conflicting good policy goals. While it is important to encourage grassroots fundraising for community-based charities, it is just as important to ensure that the water supply remains as clean as possible.Sounds like local nonprofits need to start talking to water quality officials, or the neighborhood carwash will become a thing of the past. One also wonders if bake sales, where fattening goodies are often sold in less-than-pristine sanitary conditions that might not pass muster with the local health department, are next on the hit list.—Larry Kaplan ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Social unrest in the Middle East has severely impacted TV ad revenues in the countries affected.The wave of demonstrations throughout the region, collectively known as the Arab Spring, caused a sharp downturn in TV advertising revenues in Egypt and Bahrain, according to new data from the Pan Arab Research Centre (PARC).PARC founder and general manager Sami Raffoul unveiled new numbers at the Digital TV Middle East conference in Dubai last week that showed that Egypt, previously the largest single territory in terms of ad revenues in the region, will see US$620 million (€450 million) wiped off its annual ad revenue income because of the unrest.Egypt generated US$1.49 billion of ad revenues in 2010 and that will fall to US$870 million this year.Bahrain, another country affected by the Arab Spring, will see ad revenues fall from the 2010 total of US$140 million to US$113 million.However, PARC estimates that despite the declines in territories where there has been turmoil, total pan-Arab advertising will increase this year. Raffoul said that the 2011 region-wide total will be US$13.87 billion compared with US$13.75 billion last year.Pan-Arabic ad spend will account for US$7.72 billion of the total and the United Arab Emirates will generate US$1.41 billion, a slight decrease on its contribution last year.
Al Jazeera has continued its assault on football rights in France by acquiring the rights to air Europa League matches for the next three seasons. Commercial broadcaster M6 obtained the right to air the best match from the competition on its W9 channel and to air the semi-final and final.The rights are currently held by pay TV operator Canal Plus, which airs about 90 Europa League matches per season. Al Jazeera has already secured rights to some Ligue 1 games in France and the majority of Champions League games, all previously held by Canal Plus.
European channel operator Chello Zone has inked carriage deals for three of its channels on Hot’s cable platform in Israel.The deals mark the debuts of Outdoor Channel and Fine Living in the region. They will be joined by a Russian language version of Chello’s kids channel JimJam.
Pay TV operator Sky Italia has won the TV rights to FIM MotoGP World Championship motorbike racing in Italy.Starting from the 2014 season, Sky will offer coverage of the championship across firee-to-air TV, pay TV, the internet, mobile TV and its Sky Go TV anywhere service. Sky said it would also offer coverage of the sport in HD.Sky struck a deal for exclusive coverage of all 18 races across the three classes of the championship from organiser Dorna.“We are glad we have reached this agreement. It represents a new, decisive and important signal for subscribers who, in years to come, will be able to rely on one of the deepest-rooted sports event in Italians’ hearts. That confirms that Sky keeps investing in order to ensure an unparalleled offer by constantly enriching it,” said Sky Italia CEO Andrea Zappia. “We would like to thank Dorna for the trust they have placed in us. It is a partner able to ensure the highest level of organization worldwide and I’m confident that together we’ll be able to further enhance such a great sport. Starting from now, our aim is to work every day so that the MotoGP and the whole Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix can continue to grow in the collective imagination of Italians who are already keen on a sport in which our fellow-countrymen are always getting to the top rankings”.
Portuguese pay TV company Zon Multimedia plans to introduce individual profiles for different family members and users within a household as a future iteration of its next-generation Iris advanced TV service, according to José Alberto Pascoal, head of operations and infrastructure management at Zon.Taking part in the international technology summit at the ANGA Cable congress yesterday, Pascoal said Zon also wanted to add social networking with Facebook integration to its Iris service. Iris was initially bundled with Zon’s 100Mbps offering. To increase take up it has now lowered the speed requirement, which Pascoal said had significantly boosted take-up of the service.Referring to Zon’s experience of connected TV to date, Pascoal said, “Smart TV needs to be standardised or it will die”. Zon introduced a smart TV widget on an LG TV model but Pascoal said the company was frustrated by the fact it had to develop a new app for each model.
Polish pay TV operator ‘n’ needs to find ways to increase video-on-demand use and is also mulling ways to monetise its penetration of DVR-enabled set-tops, according to Jan Frelek, head of business development at ITI Neovision, the company that operates the platform.Speaking at the Digital TV CEE event in Prague last week, Frelek said that only 12% of ‘n’’s TV customers with access to VOD used it once a week or more, compared with 22% using the VOD service on the internet and 42% of those with DVRs using that device once a week or more. He said that about 88% of customers that took both pay TV and online services were aware of what VOD meant, but only 32% of pay TV-only customers knew what it was.About 47% of ‘n’ customers have access to VOD, with about 12% taking up subscription VOD and 2% using transactional VOD service.Frelek said there were a number of ways in which the company could possibly monetise its high level – 61% – of DVR penetration. These included selling premium recording capacity and network DVR services, remote scheduling and predictive recording.
Growth in the global TV advertising market will be significantly slower this year than last, which saw a boost from the London Olympics and the US presidential election, according to the latest report by Informa Telecoms & Media.Informa is predicting 1.9% growth this year, down from 4.6% in 2012.The impact of a slowdown in the US market will be a significant contributing factor, while Europe is also expected to drag the 2013 figure down, with the TV ad market in Spain expected, France and Poland all dropping significantly. The Egyptian TV advertising market is expected to fall by a massive 25% amidst the current wave of political turmoil.The big growth markets this year will be Argentina, Indonesia, Venezuela and Morocco. The BRIC countries are also expected to post significant growth.According to Informa, net TV advertising revenues have now undergone three straight years of growth after the fall of 2009 to reach US$158.9 billion (€120 billion) last year.Informa expects the global TV ad market to pass US$200 billion by 2018. North America will remain the biggest single region but its share will slip slightly, while Latin America will be the big growth region, boosted by the Brazil World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
Actors, writers, producers, managers and agents have united to call on the UK pubcaster the BBC to save youth-skewed digital channel BBC Three.An open letter to BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead and BBC director general Tony Hall demands the decision to axe the channel as part of a cost-saving drive within the next year be reversed.Seven-hundred and fifty names are on letter in total, which describes the plan to save £50 million a year as “disastrous” and “will remove at a stroke a vitally important outlet for new talent”.Signatories include Avalon managing director Jon Thoday and Hat Trick Productions MD Jimmy Mulville, who have at various times offered to buy BBC Three and run it as an independent entertainment channel.They are joined by actors and comedians Russell Howard, Jack Whitehall, Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Daniel Radcliffe, Greg Davies, Noel Fielding, Andy Samberg, Imelda Staunton, Olivia Colman, James Nesbitt, Maxine Peake, Aidan Turner, Sarah Parish, Lena Headey and Richard E Grant.The Personal Managers Association and Writers Guild of Great Britain also lend their support, along with talent agents from Chambers Management, The Agency, Judy Daish Associates, Independent Talent, Artists Rights Group and Avalon Management Group.Writers Jimmy McGovern, Andrew Davies, Alan Bleasdale, William Boyd and Hanif Kureishi; CEO and artistic director of the National Youth Theatre Paul Roseby and its chairman, former Channel 5 controller Dawn Airey, have also added their names to the letter, which arguably ratchets up pressure on the BBC to stop the move to a higher level than any previous point.It is also claimed support for the campaign is wider-spread than the letter suggests, but that “some performers and executives from major media companies are prevented from publicly expressing their views because of commercial conflicts or contractual obligations”.The BBC is struggling to save costs ahead of its Charter Renewal talks next year, with the new Conservative government likely to be tougher on negotiations than the previous Coalition. It claims making BBC Three become a digital-only online brand would save as much as £50 million a year.The letter demands funding be reinstated, saying: “Either the BBC can continue to cater predominantly for an increasingly elderly audience or it can take the lead and safeguard its position as a beloved and relevant public broadcaster by investing in the talent and the audiences who are the building blocks of the future”.It added that the 1% of budget the BBC spends on the 16-24 demo – which BBC Three predominantly caters for – would fall to 0.6% under the closure proposal.“The effect of this reduction will probably lead to a similar reduction by commercial broadcasters which no longer need to compete, with the consequence that the audience of the future will no longer include television as one of its major sources of entertainment,” the letter stated.The BBC Trust, which governs the BBC, is currently considering Hall’s closure plan, and has the power to stop the move.
Servant of the PeopleUkrainian production outfit Kvartal 95 has teamed up with commercial broadcaster 1+1 Media to launch a new satellite channel as part of a multi-year strategic partnership.According to the pair, Kvartal TV is scheduled for launch in August. The service, which will be available in HD, will be aimed at a younger audience with a mix of comedy, lifestyle and fiction programming from Ukraine and some international content.Shows on the channel will include Vecherniy Kvartal, The Laughter League, Vecherniy Kiev, Country U, Baking News and Crack Them Up, along with popular series The In-Laws, Servant of the People and Folks.Vladimir Zelensky, CEO and creative producer of Kvartal 95, said that his company had over 1,000 hours of content in its catalogue and was shooting new movies, animation and series.“We are trying to build a strong connection with [our audience] using all resources and platforms possible: in broadcasting we cooperate with the TV channel 1+1; in the internet we are available in all video hosting sites, and for several years we are developing our own YouTube-channel. We meet with our audience at concerts,” said Zelensky.“Now the products of Kvartal 95 are also in the cable networks. We believe in the potential of this project, we are convinced that approved international experience of pay TV will eventually become habitual for Ukrainian viewers, who can watch interesting and high-quality content without ads. We want Kvartal TV to become watched by the whole world, all of our audiences, wherever they may be.”General director of 1+1 Media Alexander Tkachenko said, “Using the synergy of one of the best producers of content in the post-Soviet space, as well as technological and marketing capabilities of 1 + 1 media, we are confident that the channel Kvartal TV has serious prospects and chances to get his appreciative audience.”
Hulu and Channel 4 have joined forces on The First, a drama about the first human mission to Mars that will be written by House of Cards scribe Beau Willimon.The US streaming service and UK broadcaster have given a straight-to-series order to the project, which will be set in the near future, have an ensemble cast, and tell the story of the astronauts and their families back on earth.“It’s a story about the human spirit,” said Willimon. “About our indomitable need to reach for unknown horizons.“The prize is Mars, but the story is about the humans trying to get there.”Willimon will work up the eight-part series with producing partner Jordan Tapis and the pair’s Westward will make and own the series. IMG is co-financing alongside Hulu and Channel and will sell the series internationally. Production gets underway later this year and the series bows next year.Hulu announced a raft of programming as part of its Upfront presentation yesterday. The other major programme announcement was the pick-up of Marvel’s Runaways, its first comic book series and first deal with Marvel, which has made shows for ABC and Netflix among others.Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (The OC) will write and showrun the series, which will follow six diverse teenagers who can barely stand each other but who must unite against a common foe – their parents.Another Hulu original, The Handmaid’s Tale, meanwhile, was renewed for a second season. The on-demand service also exclusive acquired streaming rights to FX series Atlanta.